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Geochemical assessment of archaeological soils from the monastic site of Nikasala Nuwara, Kurunegala, Sri Lanka

Authors:

Sansfica M. Young ,

University of Colombo, LK
About Sansfica
Department of Environmental Technology, Faculty of Technology
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D.T. Mendis,

Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, LK
About D.T.
Department of Archaeology and Heritage Management
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C.R. Withanachchi,

Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, LK
About C.R.
Department of Archaeology and Heritage Management
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H. Ishiga

Shimane University, 690-8504, Matsue, JP
About H.
Department of Geosciences
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Abstract

Microarchaeological remain analysis is a rare approach in Sri Lankan archaeology. X-Ray Fluorescence analysis was used to identify geochemical properties of soil units recorded in archaeological excavations. Identifying range of elements through a stratigraphical sequence could reveal cultural activities and site formation processes. Proposed method was used for analyzing the soil recovered from an archaeological excavation at Nikasala-Nuwara Buddhist monastic complex. The excavated site was dated to 2-3 cent. A.D based on artifact classification. Stratigraphic sequence is undisturbed and four layers were reported. Low Fe concentration and higher P in the upper layer indicates reduced cultural activities and higher intensity of human activities. Arsenic, Zn, Cu, Ni, Cr are low at the layer one and four while they are high at the layer two and three indicating increased cultural activities in layer two and three. Ti, Sr, Nb, Zr and P2O5 increased in the layers one and two while MnO and Pb shows no much variation which could relate to oxidizing conditions of soils. Vanadium shows high variation throughout the profile. As it was apparent from the results, the chemical composition of the site is highly shaped by the cultural process rather than natural factors.

How to Cite: Young, S.M., Mendis, D.T., Withanachchi, C.R. and Ishiga, H., 2019. Geochemical assessment of archaeological soils from the monastic site of Nikasala Nuwara, Kurunegala, Sri Lanka. Journal of the Geological Society of Sri Lanka, 20(2), pp.45–53. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jgssl.v20i2.32
Published on 01 Dec 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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