Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Urban Dark Earth

  • Cristiano Nicosia
  • Yannick Devos
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_888

Introduction

Dark Earth is a term used in European urban archaeology to designate thick, dark-colored, homogeneous deposits generally ascribed to the post-Roman period. Often, Dark Earth constitutes an important part of urban stratigraphy. Taking into account that these deposits lack any recognizable internal stratigraphy and that they often formed over several centuries, their study requires an adapted research protocol and case-by-case investigation. The systematic study of Dark Earths from an environmental perspective enhances our knowledge of the array of human and natural events that shaped European cities.

Definition

The term “Dark Earth” does not correspond to a soil classification name (e.g., in soil taxonomy, FAO/WRB, etc.) nor should it imply a univocal archaeological interpretation. The term is used in substitution for other terms present in older literature such as “dark layers,” “black layers,” “black earth,” “made earth,” or “dark made earth” (see Macphail et al. 2003;...

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References

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre de Recherches en Archéologie et PatrimoineUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium