Detection and Examination of Anthrosols by Phosphate Analysis

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Science  30 Sep 1977:
Vol. 197, Issue 4311, pp. 1327-1333
DOI: 10.1126/science.197.4311.1327


Land-use analysis of anthrosols has been performed by a new, two-part method. A rapid qualitative field test assists in locating past settlements and determining their areal and temporal extent, even where artifacts are missing. The field-test results are verified and samples are analyzed further by quantitative soil phosphate fractionation. Laboratory fractionation reveals much more than the simple phosphate test used at present. Like the chemical field test, it uses minute soil samples and may be invaluable where disturbance of the landscape is forbidden. Phosphate fractions reflect the details of man-induced changes in the soil and the timing of their appearance.