A multi-proxy geochemical and micromorphological study of the use of space and stratigraphy of a Viking-age house in Ribe, Denmark

Pernille L.K. Trant, Barbora Wouters, Sarah Croix, Søren M. Sindbæk, Pieterjan Deckers, Søren M. Kristiansen*

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Abstract

High-definition approaches are currently revolutionizing our understanding of the archaeology of urban archives. Multi-proxy studies at a high spatial resolution offer especially an opportunity to capture their high data potential. Here we present a study of complex floor layers from an occupation phase dating to c. AD 790–830 uncovered in the Viking-age emporium Ribe, Denmark (c. AD 700–900). In order to better understand stratigraphy and the use of indoor space, mapping for soil geochemistry (portable X-ray fluorescence analysis, pXRF) on a high-resolution grid (0.25 × 0.25 m, n = 1059), was combined with targeted sampling for soil micromorphology and artefact distributions. The results show that the studied occupation phase was composed of several short-lived floor phases belonging to two consecutive houses that had been sampled in conjunction, and which exhibited a complex stratigraphy. The older house phase had a primarily domestic function, where ten functional areas could be defined, and are interpreted as designated spaces for food preparation, storage, sitting or sleeping, and weaving. A younger house phase contained a metal workshop in addition to domestic functions. Methodologically, a number of new, potentially anthropogenic, elements of archaeological interest, such as arsenic, manganese and sulfur, were identified that may contribute to interpretations, while the multi-proxy approach elucidates the refined scale at which we can understand a complex stratigraphic sequence and the integrity of its units. This study shows how the various aspects of Viking-age urban life (craft production, domestic life) were integrated, and sheds light on the dynamics of urban occupation.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer59
TidsskriftArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Vol/bind16
Nummer4
ISSN1866-9557
DOI
StatusUdgivet - apr. 2024

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