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Reading the Soil Archives - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780444641083, 9780444641090

Reading the Soil Archives, Volume 18

1st Edition

Unraveling the Geoecological Code of Palaeosols and Sediment Cores

Editors: Jan Van Mourik Jaap van der Meer
Paperback ISBN: 9780444641083
eBook ISBN: 9780444641090
Imprint: Elsevier
Published Date: 25th November 2019
Page Count: 320
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Table of Contents

1. Soil pollen analysis: Pollen infiltration and conservation in soils (J.v.Mouik)
Distinction sin/post sedimentary pollen in sediments and soils
Description of pollen preserving micro-environments
Association between pollen spectra and micro-environment
Soil pollen spectra as geo-ecological fingerprints

2. Soil micromorphology (J.v.Mourik, H.J. Mücher)
micromorphological characteristics (skeleton, plasma, voids) of soil horizons
distribution and composition of soil organic matter

3. Radiocarbon dating of soil organic carbon (J.v.d.Plicht)
The measurement of 14C from several sedimentary environments
Interpretation of the 14C measurements
The added value of d 13C

4. OSL dating of sand (J. Wallinga)
OSL dating of aeolian sediments
OSL dating of fluvial sediments

5. Phytolith analysis (C. Mc Michael)
Phytolith analysis of palaeosols
Phytolith analysis in archaeological context

6. Biomarkers of palaeosols (B. Jansen, J.v.Mourik)
Biomarkers from plant tissue
Biomarkers from soil
Match between biomarkers and pollen

7. Archaeometrical analysis of palaeosols (R.Jansen, D.Braekmans, M.Doorenbosch)
Archaeometrical dating of palaeosols (XRF)
Provenance analysis

8. A case study of the reconstruction of the development of the cultural landscape in the SE-Netherlands, based on the analysis of soil archives. (J.v.Mourik, R. Jansen, M. Doorenbosch)
Reconstruction of the evolution of the prehistoric cultural landscape on aeolian sands in SE Netherlands during the Late Subboreal and Early Subatlantic
Reconstruction of the evolution of the historic cultural landscape on aeolian sands in SE Netherlands since the Middle Ages
Soil formation in chemical poor sandy substrates


Reading the Soil Archives: Unraveling the Geoecological Code of Palaeosols and Sediment Cores, Volume 19, provides details of new techniques for understanding geological history in the form of quantitative pollen analyses, soil micromorphology, OSL (Optically Stimulated Luminescence) dating, phytolith analysis and biomarker analysis. The book presents the genesis of a cultural landscape, based on multi-proxy analysis of paleosoils and integration of geomorphological, pedological and archaeological research results, which can be a model for geoecological landscape studies. Beginning with analytical methods for interpreting soil archives, the book examines methods for reconstructing the landscape genesis.

The book presents strengths and weaknesses of applications, especially in relation to the data from case studies in the Netherlands. The final chapter of the book addresses landscape evolution in different cultural periods. This book offers an integrated approach to geoecological knowledge that is valuable to students and professionals in quaternary science, physical geography, soil science, archaeology, historical geography, and land planning and restructuring.

Key Features

  • Covers techniques including soil pollen analysis, radiocarbon dating, OSL-dating, phytolith analysis, biomarker analysis, archaeological analysis and GIS
  • Provides a case study of results applied in the reconstruction of landscape evolution of SE-Netherlands
  • Includes color illustrations, such as microscopic pictures, pictures of landscapes and soil profiles, pollen diagrams and dating graph


Students and professionals in physical geography, soil science, archaeology, historical geography and for those in land planning and restructuring


No. of pages:
© Elsevier 2019
25th November 2019
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

Ratings and Reviews

About the Editors

Jan Van Mourik

Jan van Mourik has published extensively on the topic of soils as a record of the past, including serving as Guest Editor for the Quaternary International special issue, “Soils as a Record of the Past.”

Affiliations and Expertise

Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), University of Amsterdam

Jaap van der Meer

Professor Jaap JM van der Meer , MSc, PhD is Professor emeritus of Physical Geography at Queen Mary, University of London. He obtained a BSc, MSc and PhD at the University of Amsterdam where he was a Senior Lecturer until 2000, when he moved to London. He retired in 2011.Glacial processes and resulting landforms and sediments were the focus of his research. On the general level he studied sediment transfer and (temporal) storage in the glacial system: from the ice divide to the shelf edge. More specifically, there are two clear elements in his studies: the first one is the study of glacial sediments especially in thin sections and the second one is the study of dynamic structures, e.g. push moraines or drumlins. His research is embedded in an international network, encompassing collaboration with colleagues from Western European, North and South American countries and Australia and New Zealand and fieldwork ranging from the Arctic to the Antarctic. He set up the Centre for Micromorphology University of London, internationally a unique research facility to study glacial sediments at all microscales.

Affiliations and Expertise

School of Geography, Queen Mary, University of London, London, UK