2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 17
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


HEINZEL, Chad1, FOGARTY, Heather1, MARCHAND, Arin1 and KOLB, Michael2, (1)Geosciences, Minot State Univ, 500 University Ave. W, Minot, ND 58707, (2)Dept. of Anthropology, Northern Illinois Univ, DeKalb, IL 60115, heatherleannfogarty@yahoo.com

Sicily possesses a diverse history of human occupation and Quaternary geologic development. This preliminary geoarchaeological research seeks to characterize clay as a natural resource during the evolution of the indigenous Sicilian culture (800 to 200 cal. yrs. BCE). These characterization and provenance data may facilitate an improved understanding of indigenous settlement and trading patterns as Greek and Phoenician colonization intensified during the 5th century BCE. On-going field efforts are sampling known clay source areas near archaeologically significant sites including Segesta, Selinus, Monte Polizzo, Salemi, and Motya. In addition, diagnostic ceramic shards have been obtained for drilling and thin-section analyses. One-hundred samples (50 clay and 50 ceramic) are undergoing a series of analytical tests including X-Ray Diffraction, Neutron Activation, and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) to characterize the mineralogical composition. In addition, petrographic analyses are being conducted to further investigate the mineralogy, fabric, and temper-composition of each ceramic artifact. This project is also building a Geographic Information System (GIS) that combines the geologic and archaeological elements for western Sicily. GIS data are being collected with a Trimble GeoXT for sub-meter accuracy of clay sources and artifact finds. Initially this GIS seeks to provide a means of relating geologic resources including clay, building stone, and water within the context of indigenous natural resource consumption. Gathering geographic and anthropogenic data will facilitate the construction of a model that will attempt to identify areas of probable ceramic production (kiln sites). Kiln sites have not been located in the study area making correlations between natural resources (clay) and human consumption of these resources difficult. The production of this GIS may aid in the discovery and subsequent excavation of a kiln site.