McNair scholar and Murray State geoscience student, Ashley Casselberry, presented her research at this year's GSA in Baltimore, MD USA. Her work, titled, "Buried soils are an important control on C storage along human-impacted landscapes in KY, USA" was well received! Way to go, Ashley
Ashley Casselberry pictured above along with her poster at 2015 GSA in Baltimore, MD USA.
Ashley chatting with Baylor University Alum', Ken Boling, about her research.
Greg Lattanzi and Gary Stinchcomb recently published their isotope analyses of Abbott Farm NHL museum-archived samples. Check out the link and abstract below to learn more!
Lattanzi, G. D., Stinchcomb, G. E., 2015, Isotopic analysis of museum-archived soil samples from archaeological sites: A case-study using the Abbott Farm National Historic Landmark, USA: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 4, 86-94, doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2015.08.044
Abstract: Archived soil samples hold important information for reconstructing ancient environments and can provide data on prehistoric land use, manipulation and changes over time. Archeological investigations at the Abbott Farm National Historic Landmark (NHL) located near Trenton, New Jersey recovered occupations from Paleoindian to Late Woodland periods. Soil samples collected during the 1930s WPA excavations have never been analyzed until now. This paper discusses the results of a carbon isotope analysis of soil organic carbon, δ13Csoc, performed on 54 samples from a number of archeological contexts from the Abbott Farm NHL. Data from Early and Middle Woodland pits and associated soils exhibit average δ13Csoc values of − 25.0 ± 1.0‰ suggesting that the suite of samples have an isotopic signature that primarily reflects aboveground C3vegetation. These values agree with current interpretations of an Early and Middle Woodland that had no maize and a gradual Late Woodland introduction of maize (C4plant) into the Lower Delaware River Valley. Assuming these samples have not experienced significant organic matter oxidation in their ~ 80 years of storage, the Abbott Farm results suggest that preserved archeological feature and soil samples in other collections that have been desiccated and housed in climate controlled facilities serve as an untapped resource for paleoenvironmental reconstruction for sites that either no longer exist or where access is limited. In the case of Abbott Farm NHL, the archeological feature and soil samples provide information on prehistoric site vegetation and paleoenvironment before the beginnings of agriculture in the Delaware Valley.
The African early Middle Pleistocene saw the emergence of archaic Homo, the expansion of hominin brain capacities to near-modern dimensions, and the first appearance of a battery of sophisticated new technologies. And yet, as relatively few African localities sample this important timeframe (i.e. the period from c.781–500ka), the specific details regarding the timing, setting, and dynamics that underlie the emergence and early evolution of these advances remain poorly understood. With an estimated minimum age of c.600-500ka, recent paleoanthropological discoveries at the open-air site of Farre, located in the Chalbi Basin of northern Kenya, add important new data relevant to these issues
With National Science Foundation support, Drs. J. Ferraro, G. Stinchcomb, K. Binetti, K. Uno, and a large interdisciplinary team of collaborators will conduct a multi-year investigation of the Farre locality and its contents. Fossils and artifacts, numbering in the thousands, are found blanketed across the top of a low hill. A small test excavation has yielded several hundred finds in situ, and a rich target-layer of fossils and artifacts (and presumed source of the surface materials) can be seen eroding from an adjacent erosional slope. Finds include artifacts consistent with both Early and Middle Stone Age technologies, coupled with fossil taxa indicating an age in excess of 500ka. The team will refine the stratigraphy and geochronology of the site, allowing researchers to accurately place inferred hominin adaptations within local, regional, and global paleoenvironmental contexts. Archaeological analyses will refine our understanding of the emergence and early evolution of important technological capacities (including the production of stone points and the appearance of Levallois flake-based reduction techniques) as well as to help elucidate the content and context of hominin dietary and foraging adaptations. Collectively, these studies will improve our understanding of archaic Homo paleobiology in sub-Saharan Africa, a topic of considerable interest and importance, but for which we currently possess very little data.
In addition, discoveries at Farre are unique in the region, and extend the c.4.1ma to c.750ka record represented in the nearby Turkana Basin by up to c300ka. Farre may thus help bridge a long-standing gap in the record of this paleoanthropologically-important region, and add increased time-depth to regional time-series analyses of biotic responses to climate change. In a similar vein, discoveries at Farre meet a recent request from the National Research Council to discover and investigate new hominin localities in Africa with which we can address issues of hominin-environment interactions and the emergence of key anatomical, technological and sociocultural adaptations.
Group pic' of the human impacts on soils and sediments workshop in Bonn, Germany, courtesy of Nathalie Dubois. There was some lively and productive discussion. All continents are represented with the exception of Africa and Antarctica. Auf Wiedersehen!
Welcome to the Department of Geography at the University of Bonn where the PAGES-GLOSS workshop on human impacts on soil and sediment mass transfer is currently underway. It was a great first day of talks and the next two days will consist of talks and discussions about how to move forward as a research group.
Happy Friday from the SedSoilHuman lab!
We have microprobe analysis on the brain, literally. Stay tuned for more news regarding the Hancock Biological Station's latest environmental SEM aquistion. Plenty of student research opportunities await. Contact the lab to learn more!
Great article in this week's Science "Defining the epoch we live in: Is a formally designated Anthropocene a good idea?" by Bill Ruddiman, Erle Ellis, Jed Kaplan and Dorian Fuller.
Ruddiman and others make a valid point. But the question still remains if some of the earlier events noted by Ruddiman and others denote a principal correlation event recorded in stratigraphic material that can serve as a GSSP boundary (golden spike). Lewis and Maslin (2015) articulate this issue very well. I think the debate calls for even more rigorous and systematic study of human impacts across the globe.
The debate also raises some important questions. Can we resolve and agree upon a boundary using traditional geological approach? Maybe not, and perhaps that is what Ruddiman et al. are alluding to here. Does defining the anthropocene require some other means than classic stratigraphy? Are we witnessing an emerging scientific discipline, "anthropocene science" that is more integrative and includes several disciplines?
Check out Murray State, Dept. of Geosciences latest acquisition for instructional purposes: a GQ GMC-320 Plus Geiger Muller Counter and data logger. Here we examine samples containing uraninite. The background counts per minute (CPM) in my office are comparable with what is being recorded throughout much of northeastern USA.
...is a geoscience research lab in Murray, KY USA. The lab is directed by Gary Stinchcomb, an Assistant Professor of Geosciences at Murray State University who holds a joint appointment with the Watershed Studies Institute.
Welcome to the Sediment Soil Human Lab
In the Watershed Studies Institute & Department of Geosciences, Murray State University