Encyclopedia of Geoarchaeology

2017 Edition
| Editors: Allan S. Gilbert

Soils, Agricultural

  • Jonathan A. SandorEmail author
  • Jeffrey A. Homburg
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4409-0_142


The geoarchaeological record holds key information about past land use and its impact on soils and environment. Among agents of anthropogenic soil change, agriculture’s impact on soil is immense in magnitude, spatial extent, and duration. Agriculture has profoundly altered soil properties, processes, and formation pathways worldwide since its inception about ten millennia ago. The deep time perspectives on soil management and change available through geoarchaeology can help us predict long-term effects of agriculture on land resources and test for sustainability. Ancient agricultural systems and soils presented here illustrate the global range of soil use and change in relation to complex, interacting factors such as kind of system, time scale, and environmental setting and resilience.

Kinds of ancient agricultural systems and soils

Certain kinds of anthropogenic soils are associated with agricultural systems that have functioned for centuries to millennia. Some of these...
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Agronomy DepartmentIowa State UniversityCorralesUSA
  2. 2.Statistical Research, IncTucsonUSA