image/svg+xml181 VI/2/2015 INTERDISCIPLINARIA ARCHAEOLOGICA NATURAL SCIENCES IN ARCHAEOLOGY homepage: http://www.iansa.eu Neolithic Occupation of Svratka Alluvial Plain; Case Study from Brno-Přízřenice, Czech Republic David Parma a , Lenka Vejrostová b , Lenka Lisá c* , Aleš Bajer d , Jan Pacina e , Zdeněk Gottvald d a Archaeological Heritage Institute Brno, Kaloudova 30, 614 00 Brno, Czech Republic b Department of Physical Geography and Geoecology, Faculty of Sciences, Charles University in Prague, Albertov 6, 128 43 Praha 2, Czech Republic c Institute of Geology, The Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Rozvojová 269, 165 00 Praha 6, Czech Republic d Department of Geology and Pedology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology, Mendel University in Brno, Zemědělská 3, 613 00 Brno, Czech Republic e Department of Informatics and Geoinformatics, Faculty of Environment, J. E. Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, Králova výšina 7, 400 96 Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic 1. Introduction Paleopedology, including the study of buried soil horizons, is a powerful way to understand the environmental record of the past. Thanks to this environmental archive it is possible to obtain various data about the environment and the pedogenic processes at the time of a soil’s formation (Retallack 1988). A soil’s development is infuenced by the climate, location, time, parent material and topography, organisms (including intensity of biological decomposition), and a consequential variety of connected features, such as hydrological conditions (Birkeland 1975). Humans may also play an important role in prehistoric soil development as well (Retallack 2001). The studies of Neolithic buried soils, for example, under tumuli or ramparts, have already brought much interesting information (Hejcman, Gojda 2013; Barczi et al. 2006; 2009; Breuning-Madsen et al. 2009; Andrews, Fernandez-Jalvo 2012) about former landscapes. Comparison studies between buried and recent soils may answer questions connected with the past soil environment – as well as questions connected with the intensity of the anthropogenic impact (Wells 2000; Dreibrodt et al. 2009; Elberling et al. 2010; Horák, Hejcman 2013). During the last few decades the term “dark earth” has started to be commonly used. The term does not correspond to a soil classifcation name (for example, in soil taxonomy, FAO/WRB, etc. ) nor should it imply a univocal archaeological interpretation. This term is used in Volume VI ● Issue 2/2015 ● Pages 181–193 *Corresponding author. E-mail: lisa@gli.cas.cz ARTICLE INFO Article history: Received: 23 rd June 2015Accepted: 20 th November 2015 Key words: Alluvial zoneburied soils prehistoric occupationdark earthgeoarchaeologymicromorphology grain size analysismagnetic proxies ABSTRACT The study of paleosols, including buried soil horizons, is one of the tools used for understanding the environmental record of the past. Soil development is infuenced by climate, time of development, background geology, hydrological conditions and intensity of biological decomposition. Construction works undertaken from 2012 to 2013 in the locality of in Brno-Přízřenice, Czech Republic, situated in the inundation zone of the Svratka River, had uncovered some interesting situations in the context of the past occupation of this area. The more than 300-cm-thick section is mostly composed of alluvial deposits of the Svratka River; the base of the section is composed of stagnosols. Fluvisols were recorded in the upper part of the section and its uppermost part has signs of intensively-cultivated soil. In between these two types of soils, approximately 200 cm below the surface, a dark horizon representing “dark earth” was detected. The approximately 50-cm-thick dark horizon contains artefacts dated to the Neolithic, Eneolithic (Copper Age) and the Bronze Age. The locality is important for two main reasons. The frst is its position in the alluvial zone. This part of the inundation zone was not fooded at least during the period between the end of the Neolithic and the beginning of the Bronze Age. This fact documents the changes in alluvial aggradations similar to that which we know from the Morava River. These changes are interpreted as being the consequence of human impact, or less likely due to climatic change. The second reason making this locality important is the appearance of the dark earth. The number and state of the archaeological remains preserved within this layer suggest the area’s long-term occupation and agricultural use with fertilisation.
image/svg+xmlIANSA 2015 ● VI/2 ● 181–193David Parma, Lenka Vejrostová, Lenka Lisá, Aleš Bajer, Jan Pacina, Zdeněk Gottvald: Neolithic Occupation of Svratka Alluvial Plain; Case Study from Brno-Přízřenice, Czech Republic 182 substitution for other terms present in older literature that point to the “black coloured soil” of non-identifable origin. The term “dark earth” indicates dark-coloured, humic, and poorly stratifed units, often formed over several centuries, and frequently rich in the anthropogenic remains (brick, mortar, tile, charcoal, bone, pottery, etc. ) that are observed in urban contexts (Devos 2014).The construction works in the locality of Brno-Přízřenice, in South Moravia, that are discussed in this paper were undertaken between 2012 and 2013. The locality of Přízřenice is situated in the inundation zone of the Svratka River. An interesting situation in the context of the area’s past occupation was uncovered during the construction work (Parma 2013). A dark horizon, about 50–60 cm thick, containing Neolithic, Eneolithic, and Bronze Age artefacts, was excavated below the approximately 190 cm thick surface layer of alluvial deposits, in the centre of the recent alluvial zone of the Svratka river. When anthropogenic constituents of any size (artefacts or micro-artefacts) occur in a sedimentary matrix that shows only a microstructure created by natural processes, then the former existence of human structured micro-facies can be envisioned (Gé 1993). Micromorphological studies can then aim to determine whether pedological or sedimentary transformations may have caused the total destruction of the original structure of human origin. Therefore, the following aims of this paper are: 1 st : to describe this quite unique situation from an archaeological point of view (settlement strategies)2 nd : to discuss the context of past geomorphological and climatic changes in this area 3 rd : to estimate the possible impact of human activities on the development of the dark horizon (possibly “dark earth”) buried in the alluvial plain. 2. Geomorphological settings The study site Brno–Přízřenice is located on the boundary between two cadastral territories: Brno–Přízřenice and Modřice. These locations, known as “Líchy” and “Na lukách”, are situated in the fat alluvial plain of the Svratka River, approximately 300 metres from the recently-regulated riverbed (Figure 1). The terrain nowadays is rather different from the prehistoric one: it has been elevated and levelled since no later than the High Middle Ages. The study area is situated approximately in the centre of the recent alluvial plain (Figure 2). The position of the locality can be studied on maps of the First, Second and Third Military Surveys (Figure 2), which show changes in the extent of the alluvial plain. The Third Military Survey (1870–1880) shows nearly the same information as it is today, because at that time the riverbed of the Svratka had already been regulated. The Second Military Survey (1819–1858) shows a slight shift of the Svratka riverbed towards the west. The maps also give information about the different kinds of agricultural management at the site; the changes in agricultural management are most likely to be connected with the higher underground water level. However, the most interesting is the First Military Survey (1760–1780). Though the riverbed’s position remains approximately the same as on the Second Military Survey map, nevertheless signifcant differences can be seen. A bridged former channel can be found in the western part of the alluvial zone in the residential area of Přízřenice. The site’s land cover is very different in the later map – during the time of the First Military Survey mapping there was an area of forest margin covered by trees. There is no reliable evidence of a settlement older than Medieval in the fatland of the Svratka and the Svitava river confuence, most likely due to the super-imposed younger food sediments. Prehistoric