ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201804.0263.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Archaeology Keywords: antiquities trafficking; archaeometry; archaeological looting; expert evidence; judicial proceedings
Online: 20 April 2018 (11:17:32 CEST)
For most of its history, archaeology has taken an indulgent attitude toward looting and antiquities trafficking. The primary response to these dangers has been to publish the main findings made outside of academia. As a result of this approach and the prominent role played by police techniques in investigating such crimes, investigations are primarily based on documentary research. This approach makes it harder to determine such essential factors in this field as an object’s collecting history or discovery date. This paper offers an overview of the state of the research on the fight against antiquities trafficking. It then proposes new ways of studying collecting history, drawing on research projects on the use of archaeometry to shed light on cases of looting or trafficking involving police, court, or government intervention; hence, its qualification as “forensic.” Although the current state of knowledge does not enable the presentation of novel research, we believe that researchers and interested institutions should be made aware of the advisability of using archaeometry more directly in the fight against these scourges.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0483.v1
Subject: Engineering, Automotive Engineering Keywords: archaeological site, roof, shelter, bridge, sustainability, aesthetics, heritage presentation, decision making
Online: 18 March 2021 (12:34:34 CET)
The purpose of the study was to provide support in the decision-making process for architects and engineers regarding large-spans structures for the presentation of archaeological sites in situ - construction of roofs, shelters, and bridges. We examined existing practice and analyzed their engineering classifications looking for a pattern in their application regarding sustainability and relation between type of cultural heritage site and type of applied large span structure. Contemporary engineering structures at built heritage sites create a sharp contrast between old and new. A presentation of cultural heritage in situ requires an understanding of heritage theory and internationally accepted doctrine which exceeds common engineering education. Nevertheless, application of large-span structures, which often take advantages of state-of-art construction-technologies nowadays, is also an aesthetical statement that affects the appearance of the site. Therefore, we gave an overview of the theoretical background of aesthetical issues and the overall ethics of the decision-making process in such sensitive cases. Within the framework of heritage-presentation, engineering and architectural issues, and selected case studies, we concluded in favor of the application of large-span structures under certain conditions.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201905.0193.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Geophysics Keywords: archaeological geophysics; magnetic methods; ground penetrating radar; tunnel detection; data integration
Online: 15 May 2019 (11:14:34 CEST)
The UNESCO World Heritage Hadrian’s Villa lies over the Colli Albani volcanic district near Rome. Magnetic, paleomagnetic, radar, and electric resistivity surveys were performed in the Plutonium–Inferi sector to detect buried buildings and outline a segment of the underground system of tunnels that link different zones of the villa. In particular, a paleomagnetic analysis of the bedrock unit allowed to accomplish an accurate geomagnetic field modelling and characterize the archaeological sources of the magnetic field anomalies. We used a computer-assisted forward modelling procedure to generate a structural model of the sources of the observed anomalies. The intrinsic ambiguity of the magnetic field modelling was reduced with the support of ground penetrating radar amplitude slices and an analysis of radar and electric resistivity profiles. The bedrock lithology in this area is an ignimbrite tuff characterized by abundant iron oxides. The high-amplitude magnetic anomalies observed in the Plutonium–Inferi area are due to strong bedrock remnant magnetization and susceptibility contrasts between topsoil infill of cavities and the surrounding tuff. The resulting magnetization model of the Plutonium–Inferi complex shows that the observed anomalies are mostly due to the presence of tunnels, skylights and a system of ditches excavated in the tuff.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202201.0218.v3
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Archaeology Keywords: Archaeological survey; Inner Tian Shan Mountain region; Iron Age; Medieval period; agropastoralism
Online: 3 March 2022 (07:44:09 CET)
This paper discusses the preliminary results of archaeological surveys conducted in the Juuku Region of north-central Kyrgyzstan on the south side of Lake Issyk kul. Our goal was to document ancient and contemporary agropastoral systems over a four millenia time period. During the surveys about 350 loci were identified as settlements, burial mounds, graves, single artifact finds, and artifact scatters (ceramic). The areas of Juuku Valley survey included two discrete polygons: Polygon 1, Lower Juuku at 1750 to 1950 m asl in elevation and Polygon 2, Chak Juuku or Upper Eastern Branch Juuku Valley at 2060 to 2100 m asl in elevation. Three radiometric dates and preliminary archaeobotanical studies were conducted at three exposed profile cuts. The methods included here are: (1) pedestrian surveys; (2) use of digital maps (Google Earth, Encarta); (3) placing archaeological loci within known chronological time periods; (4) AMS dating of charcoal samples collected from profile deposits; and (5) preliminary identification of plant remains found from archaeobotanical samples. The results of our research represent the first step toward inventorying and interpreting archaeological data in the Juuku Valley derived from field studies.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0696.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Algebra & Number Theory Keywords: Archaeological Data Science; Artificial Intelligence; Unsupervised Learning; Generative Adversarial Networks; Robust Statistics.
Online: 27 November 2020 (14:43:36 CET)
The fossil record is notorious for being incomplete and distorted, frequently conditioning the type of knowledge that can be extracted from it. In many cases, this often leads to issues when performing complex statistical analyses, such as classification tasks, predictive modelling, and variance analyses, such as those used in Geometric Morphometrics. Here different Generative Adversarial Network architectures are experimented with, testing the effects of sample size and domain dimensionality on model performance. For model evaluation, robust statistical methods were used. Each of the algorithms were observed to produce realistic data. Generative Adversarial Networks using different loss functions produced multidimensional synthetic data significantly equivalent to the original training data. Conditional Generative Adversarial Networks were not as successful. The methods proposed are likely to reduce the impact of sample size and bias on a number of statistical learning applications. While Generative Adversarial Networks are not the solution to all sample-size related issues, combined with other pre-processing steps these limitations may be overcome. This presents a valuable means of augmenting geometric morphometric datasets for greater predictive visualization.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0074.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Geoinformatics Keywords: archaeological topography; tumulus; burial mound; geomorphometry; high-resolution; DEM; LiDAR; Random Forest
Online: 6 February 2020 (02:43:29 CET)
Archaeological topography identification from high-resolution DEMs is a current method that is used with high success in archaeological prospecting of wide areas. I present a methodology trough which burial mounds (tumuli) from LiDAR DEMS can be identified. This methodology uses geomorphometric and statistical methods to identify with high accuracy burial mound candidates. Peaks, defined as local elevation maxima are found as a first step. In the second step, local convexity watershed segments and their seeds are compared with positions of local peaks and the peaks that correspond or have in vicinity local convexity segments seeds are selected. The local convexity segments that correspond to these selected peaks are further feed to a Random Forest algorithm together with shape descriptors and descriptive statistics of geomorphometric variables in order to build a model for the classification. Multiple approaches to tune and selected the proper training dataset, settings and variables were tested. The validation of the model was performed on the full dataset where the training was performed and on an external dataset in order to test the usability of the method for other areas in a similar geomorphological and archaeological setting. The validation was performed against manually mapped and field checked burial mounds from two neighbor study areas of 100 km2 each. The results show that by training the Random Forest on a dataset composed of between 75% to 100% of the segments corresponding to burial mounds and ten times more non-burial mounds segments selected using latin hypercube sampling, 93% of the burial mound segments from the external dataset are identified. There are 42 false positive cases that need to be checked, and there are two burial mound segments missed. The method shows great promise to be used for burial mound detection on wider areas by delineating a certain number of tumuli mounds for model training.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202203.0210.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Archaeology Keywords: oysters; eastern Baltic Sea; zooarchaeology; archaeomalacology; written sources; archaeological finds; medieval; early modern
Online: 15 March 2022 (11:23:59 CET)
Along most of the European littoral, oysters were appreciated as a wholesome and palatable food since the Stone Age, yet were transported much further from their natural habitats when long-distance trade in marine foodstuffs began in medieval times. The brackish waters of the Baltic Sea are not considered a suitable environment for this mussel, and therefore all archaeological oyster shell finds are the result of import to the eastern Baltic. In this study, over 1000 shells found in different medieval and early modern archaeological contexts in Estonia were analysed and the obtained data recorded in a data repository. Some conclusions are set out, based on shell size and shape, and breakage traces, but more detailed taphonomic studies are left for the future. The study identifies the earliest imports of oysters recorded by archaeological material and written sources. Both show records not much earlier than the 16th century AD. Although no information is preserved about the exact origin of oysters imported to Estonia, the oyster beds most probably exploited are those in the central eastern North Sea, i.e. the Wadden Sea.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202109.0144.v1
Subject: Engineering, Other Keywords: protective structures; microclimatic monitoring; microbiological deterioration of architectural finds; Archaeological site 1a Imperial Palace Sirmium
Online: 8 September 2021 (11:24:50 CEST)
For the purpose of this paper, the actual air temperature and air humidity values were monitored in the Visitor Centre of the Archaeological site 1a Imperial Palace Sirmium, designated cultural heritage of exceptional importance. The contamination level of archaeological finds in the site was microbiologically analysed. The findings showed that during the phase of microclimatic monitoring (February–April 2021), air humidity was almost constantly above the levels set by standards and recommendations for museum collections (>60%). The highest levels of air humidity, amounting to 93%, were recorded in February, with daily oscillations of up to 30%; the lowest recorded temperature was 0.3°C, with the maximum daily oscillations of 6°C. Microbiological analysis revealed great diversity in the deterioration level of the finds, which can be attributed to the time lapse between the last conservation and the present. The comparative analysis of microclimatic monitoring and microbiological analysis results identified high levels of relative air humidity as the dominant factor in the increased microbiological contamination of the finds. The findings also pointed to the necessity of continuous microclimatic monitoring during the actual usage of the facility in order to provide the sustainable display and preservation of the finds on the premises.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0219.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Archaeology Keywords: archaeological landscapes; Iron Age; Medieval period; agriculture; pastoralism; vertical zonation, Issyk-Kul Lake; archaeobotany; GIS mapping
Online: 17 May 2022 (03:29:22 CEST)
The main goal of this paper is to present results of preliminary archaeological research on the south side of Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan. We test the hypothesis that agropastoral land use changed over four millennia from the Bronze Age through the ethnographic Kirghiz period due to economic, socio-political, and religious changes in the prehistoric and historic societies of this region. Our research objectives are to: (1) describe and analyze survey results from Lower Kizil Suu Valley; (2) discuss the results of radiometric and archaeobotanical samples taken from three stratigraphic profiles from three settlements from the Juuku Valley, including these chronological periods: the Wusun period (200 to 400 CE), the Qarakhanid period (1100 to 1200 CE), and the ethnographic Kirghiz period (1700 to 1900 CE); and (3) conduct preliminary GIS spatial analyses on the Iron Age mortuary remains (Saka and Wusun period). This research emerges out of the first archaeological surveys conducted in 2019 - 2021 and includes the Lower Kizil Suu alluvial fan; it is an initial step toward developing a model for agropastoral land use for upland valleys of the Inner Tian Shan Mountains.
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: loess, Holocene, ruin soil, archaeological sediment, vesicular layer, aeolian dust, biocrusts, clast pavements, climate change, snow
Online: 18 March 2019 (09:34:47 CET)
Loess was deposited in the Negev during the Pleistocene, but such sediments seem to be missing for the Holocene. This could be due to erosion unless structures such as ruins offered protection. We studied soils developed on archaeological hilltop ruins in the Negev and the Petra region and compared them with local soils, paleosols, geological outcrops, and current dust. The ruin soils in both regions were found to consist of similarly complex mixtures of local and remote sediment sources. They differ from sediments deposited during current dust storms. This seems due to fixation processes: average accretion rates are estimated to ~0.14 mm/a, suggesting that only ~3% of the current dust that can be trapped with dry marble dust collectors is stored in the soils. Vegetation, biocrusts, and/or clast pavements associated with vesicular layers seem to act as sediment-fixing agents. As well, climate might play a role: rain, and in particular one snowstorm in the Petra region brought a high amount of sediment that was more similar to the ruin soils. Wet deposition and snow might catalyze dust deposition and enhance fixation by fostering vegetation and crust formation. Frequent snow during the Pleistocene might be one explanation of enhanced loess deposition.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201902.0141.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Archaeology Keywords: the Late Bronze Age; Bashkir Transurals; Srubnaya-Alacul type of monuments; interdisciplinary methods in archaeological investigation
Online: 15 February 2019 (11:16:37 CET)
The Late Bronze Age on the territory of Southern Transurals is represented by two major archeological cultures: Srubnaya and Andronovskaya (Alakul culture and Fyodorovskaya – type). Their interaction of constitutes a special mix of material cultures which preserves common features of two independent, Srubnaya and Andronovskaya cultures, but also creates novel local material features. These cultural groups are also known to have brought to the region the technology of bronze production. This is evidenced, amongst others, by the proximity of the largest copper mining in the region, Kargaly mines Chernykh (2002). New methods to produce ceramics and to work bones were also developed, combining two traditions, coming from Srubnaya and Andronovskaya cultures respectively. Importantly, the features of these cultures are commonly encountered together in a single cultural horizon across the distribution ares. These diffusion processes took place in a vast area (more than 120,000 km2) andwere reflected in archeological micro-district of the Urshak river basin. We present here the most recent results of the scientific examination of the Late Bronze Age settlements in southern Transurals and attempt to address a peculiar cultural co-habitation of two distinct cultural groups in this region. We also discuss their synchronism based on absolute dates and elaborate on this cultural syncretism in the entire territory of the Volga-Ural region.