Use of trace elements from historical mining for alluvial sediment dating
J. Horák, M. Hejcmanhttps://doi.org/10.17221/49/2012-SWRCitation:Horák J., Hejcman M. (2013): Use of trace elements from historical mining for alluvial sediment dating. Soil & Water Res., 8: 77-86.
We examined whether it is possible to relate concentrations of trace elements in alluvial sediments with records concerning the intensity of mining, and use them as a means of dating. We conducted our research in the medieval mining district of the town of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic. Samples were collected under the pond dam and analysed for clay, silt and sand content and for As, Be, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Mo, Ni, Pb, V and Zn concentrations. We observed two main peaks of element concentrations (Be, Co, Cr, Cu, Hg, Pb, V and Zn), independent of grain fractions. The peaks were interpreted as a result of human activity. The concentration curves, stratigraphy and location of the dam/alluvium boundary were compared with historical records of mining production. This means of dam dating into the 16th century agreed with historical dating from written sources. Trace elements were also successfully used as stratigraphic markers. The comparison between concentration patterns of V and other well interpreted elements (Be, Co, Cr, Cu, Hg, Pb and Zn) enabled to recognize a material directly originating from the mines. The elements thus helped to interpret local sedimentation history.Keywords:
archaeological methods; heavy metals; historic metallurgy; human impact; landscape development; Middle Ages