Simpson I, Bol R, Dockrill SJ, Petzke KJ & Evershed RP (1997) Compound-specific δ15N amino acid signals in palaeosols as indicators of early land use: a preliminary study. Archaeological Prospection, 4 (3), pp. 147-152. https://doi.org/10.1002/%28SICI%291099-0763%28199709%294%3A3%3C147%3A%3AAID-ARP74%3E3.0.CO%3B2-5
Compound-specific δ15N amino acid signals in soils demonstrate differences between manured grassland, unmanured grassland and continuous cereal cultivation under long-term experimental land-use control conditions, with δ15N values of hydrophobic amino acids providing the most distinctive signals. Analysis of anthropogenic palaeosols from Orkney demonstrates that such signals are retained in archaeological contexts. Relict medieval to early modern soils retain signals that suggest cereal cultivation, with a later phase of manured grassland; fossil Bronze Age soils retain signals that suggest continuous cereal cultivation only. These analyses are the first identification of compound-specific δ15N amino acid signals in archaeological soils.
stable isotope analysis;soil amino acids;cultural landscape reconstruction;δ15N
Archaeological Prospection: Volume 4, Issue 3