Introducing Geoarcheology in Pakistan


From the beginning, Human beings live in the kingdom of nature and interact with it constantly. “Past is key to present” to understand the pale environment of any area it is crucial to study their geological processes. Geoarchaeology is the name of studying the natural physical processes, which affect any archeological site and the formation of the site through geological processes which affect buried sites’ artifacts post-deposits. Archeologists use their findings to comment on prehistoric, contemporary, and future human-landscape interactions in different environments. As geologists and archaeologists know, climate and the environment are anything but stable: change is the real constant. Although historians can tell us that during the Little Ice Age glaciers in the Alps advanced many kilometers down the valley and that during the preceding, warmer, period the Romans grew grapes and made wine in Britain, what they cannot tell us is that even those changes were minor, compared with what went on in prehistoric times. From the geoarchaeological perspective, human life has never been separate from nature. Geoarchaeology can thus provide a more inclusive and longer-term view of human-geosphere interactions, and serve as a valuable aid to those who try to determine sustainable policies for the future.

There are great numbers of archeological sites in Pakistan like Mehrgarh culture (Neolithic archeological site Balochistan), Indus river civilization (Aryans), Taxila city, Bhanbor; Buddhists Rocks in different cities of Pakistan, Silk rout the old connecting routs between North to East Lahore Fort, the Badshahi Mosque and the tomb of Anarkali, etc. Pakistan possesses one of the oldest and most distinguished cultural heritages of the world. In literature, there are lots of ancient civilizations which used to move with the dynamics of fluvial processes.

The Netherlands Journal of Geosciences details that “quaternary geology is increasingly applied to gain insight in the landscape development and environmental setting where people have lived in the past. Above this, predictive models can be improved by the interaction of archaeological and geological/palaeogeographical research.”

Archeology can be seen as a series of events and a large-scale process of cultural change constituted by many small-scale or individual actions. Geology is the study of the structure, evolution, and dynamics of the Earth. “The relation between Earth and Man” There is a connection between the evolutions that occurred in the structure of earth and changes in the different cultural transformations of human beings. The landscape on which prehistoric people lived was dynamic and continually changed; the record of prehistoric activities across the landscape has been differentially preserved and destroyed. To reconstruct an ancient human settlement from archeological records it is crucial to have a complete understanding of geological forces and history that have shaped the record. Geologists and archaeologists alike have noted that the earth is made up of layers of rock and soil that were created by natural occurrences, the deaths of animals, and climatic events such as floods, glaciers, and volcanic eruptions and by cultural ones such as trash deposits and building events. Archaeologists map the cultural and natural layers that they see in a site to better understand the processes that created the site and the changes that occurred over time.

Stratigraphy is a term used by archaeologists and Geoarchaeologists to refer to the natural and cultural soil layers that make up an archaeological deposit. The adoption of stratigraphic principles by archaeologists greatly improved excavation and archaeological dating methods. By digging from the top downward, the archaeologist can trace the buildings and objects on a site back through time using techniques of typology (i.e., the study of how types change in time). Object types, particularly types of pottery, can be compared with those found at other sites in order to reconstruct patterns of trade and communication between ancient cultures. When combined with stratification analysis, an analysis of the stylistic changes in objects found at a site can provide a basis for recognizing sequences in stratigraphic layers.

The importance of stratigraphic excavation to archaeologists is really about change over time: the ability to recognize how artifact styles and living methods adapted and changed. OSL Chronology (a chorology based on optically stimulated luminescence dating is presented for the late-and post-glacial evolution) describes prehistoric settlement patterns in a delta. The aggradation of the floodplain has also influenced the recovery of archaeological remains . Subsidence of the Delta and sea‐level change were responsible for pronounced changes in the geomorphology of the Delta, the distribution of waterways, and hence trade. The coastal zone constitutes a very appealing geographical area for human populations, as it provides not only specific natural resources but the possibility to establish communication and exchange with distant and varied peoples and cultures. A novel method for synthesizing stable isotope data from multiple ungulate species is used to create an integrated archaeo fauna-based paleoenvironment record. This method increases the temporal resolution of the investigation in the absence of precise chronological control for some sedimentary layers and reveals patterns of habitat segregation among coeval prey taxa in each layer.

Landscape elements, a spatial concept from landscape ecology, and the archaeological notion of place are integrated with geomorphological models of landscape evolution. A distributional or non-site approach to the subsurface archaeological record is argued to be most consistent with a dynamic view of landscapes. Regional geomorphological studies are shown to be crucial, given the volume of sediment that needs to be searched, in developing efficient subsurface sampling strategies. Various subsurface recovery techniques are reviewed, including the potential use of micro-artifacts to increase the effectiveness of small bulk samples in sampling the buried archaeological record.

Soil contents, such as pottery and bone, soil can hold other priceless information on human and animal migration patterns, dietary variance, unusual weather events and how they affected plant growth and health, and much more. Geoscience can help archaeologists prospect for unexplored archaeological sites, using tactics such as ground-penetrating radar; magnetic methods; air surveys using drones or larger, traditional aircraft; space satellites, and other methods. Sites that seem like good prospects but for which permission to explore has been difficult to obtain now have a larger pool of convincing data.

Geoarchaeology provides a framework for understanding the relationships between humans and their environments. At many archaeological sites, Geoarchaeologists play an integral role in contextualizing materials and better establishing site chronology, which can have a huge impact when you’re dealing with sites with early hominins. They look at site formation and post-depositional processes (things that happened to the sediment and archaeology after they were first laid down in a site) and examine multiple scales of information from the micro, to the macro to the wider landscape.

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