| “ Linguistic Landscape Studies ” and Archaeology |
Detecting cultural formation processes through arthropod assemblages
a conceptual model for urban archaeological waste- / cesspits
Sander E . I . Aerts MSc student at the Faculty of Archaeology of the University of Leiden , Intern archaeoentomology at Naturalis Biodiversity Center , Leiden
Abstract Archaeologists encounter cultural deposits on a daily basis . One possible method for demonstrating formation processes , and potential contextual re-positioning of particular deposits is by looking at arthropod remains . Many members of this phylum are likely to be preserved in the archaeological record due to their sturdy chitinous exoskeletons . They are highly abundant in practically any habitat , which makes them very suitable for formational reconstructions . This article proposes a conceptual model to link arthropod assemblages to cultural formation processes . By defining the systemic contexts as domestic , peridomestic and natural , and the archaeological context as an urban archaeological pit containing waste , the movement of deposits can be traced through the ecological implications of the present arthropod remains . The distance between the original systemic context and the archaeological context defines four different subassemblages . These are then further divided into groups that show the relationship with human activities to separate the natural from the cultural formation process and indicate the type of deposit based on synanthropicity . Furthermore , a number of niche groups are distinguished to indicate the material contents and characteristics of a deposit . Reconstructing the origins and characteristics of these deposits allow for a better understanding of site formations and the functions of pits . Especially when there is no visible stratigraphic succession at the time of excavation , high resolution ecological information can shed light on the stratigraphy of a pit .
Keywords archaeoentomology , insects , synanthropic species , cultural formation processes , systemic contexts