Article

Relict properties of anthropogenic deep top soils as indicators of infield management in Marwick, West Mainland, Orkney

Citation

Simpson I (1997) Relict properties of anthropogenic deep top soils as indicators of infield management in Marwick, West Mainland, Orkney. Journal of Archaeological Science, 24 (4), pp. 365-380. https://doi.org/10.1006/jasc.1996.0121

Abstract
Relict properties of anthropogenic deep top soils formed between the late 1200s and late 1800s are used to identify infield management practices in the coastal area of Marwick, West Mainland, Orkney. Properties examined include particle size distribution, total phosphate, δ13C values, and micromorphological features. Interpretation of infield management practices from these properties is based upon their known characteristics, through comparisons with known materials and by comparisons with other areas of the Marwick landscape. The observed properties suggest that manuring practice involved the application of grassy turf material that came exclusively from the hill land, together with composted animal manure and a minor seaweed component. Materials from other possible sources were not utilized and differences in relict soil properties within and between the deep top soils in Marwick suggest that varying proportions of turf and manure were applied across the area of land that developed as deep top soil. Cultivation practices associated with the deep top soils were sufficiently intense to contribute to the downslope and down profile movement of fine material. The implications of the interpretations are discussed in relation to the wider organization of the cultural landscape in Orkney. More general conclusions are drawn on the implications for soils-based studies of infield systems.

Keywords
Orkney; Anthropogenic Soils; Infield Management; Cultural Landscapes

Journal
Journal of Archaeological Science: Volume 24, Issue 4

StatusPublished
Publication date30/04/1997
PublisherElsevier
ISSN0305-4403