Original Article

Environmental Geology

, Volume 53, Issue 8, pp 1639-1650

First online:

Clay mineralogy of archaeological soil: an approach to paleoclimatic and environmental reconstruction of the archaeological sites of the Paharpur area, Badalgacchi upazila, Naogaon district, Bangladesh

  • A. K. M. Masud AlamAffiliated withState Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources, China University of GeosciencesDepartment of Natural History, Bangladesh National Museum Email author 
  • , Shucheng XieAffiliated withState Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources, China University of Geosciences
  • , Dilip Kumar SahaAffiliated withMaterials Science Division, Atomic Energy Centre
  • , Sifatul Quader ChowdhuryAffiliated withDepartment of Geology, University of Dhaka

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A geo-archaeological examination was carried out in and around the Paharpur area, Badalgacchi upazila of Naogaon District in the north-western part of Bangladesh. Clay mineralogy and global paleo-temperature curves were used to determine the paleoclimatic and depositional environmental conditions of the Holocene archaeological soils (Barind clay residuum) of the Paharpur archaeological spot. Clay mineralogical data show that the dominant clay mineral is illite with subordinate amounts of kaolinite and chlorite. The high illite and low kaolinite content implies a marine or estuarine deposit. The clay mineral ratio log diagram, constructed by plotting the 7–10°Å integrated intensity ratios versus depth, supports this assumption. The presence of illite, together with quartz and feldspar, suggests high detrital input under generally cool to temperate and dry climates. Chlorite is another common by-product of weathering reactions with low hydrolysis, which is typical for cool to temperate and dry climates. The results suggest the existence of a marine–estuarine influence under a generally cool to temperate and dry climates around Paharpur and the surrounding region throughout the Pala dynasty around mid-century 700 a.d. to early 1100 a.d. Furthermore, this observation is consistent with the global paleo-temperature curves.


Clay mineralogy Archaeology Bangladesh Climate Paharpur X-ray diffraction