by Alexei KAZDYM, Cand. Sc. (Geol. & Mineral), Senior Research Associate, Institute of Geoecology, Russian Academy of Sciences
Today most different scientists-geologists and ecologists, earth and soil scientists, geochemists and microbiologists - are closely involved with the earth's ecological problems. And yet they find out that biospheric pollution and modification of ecosystems caused by man occurred even aeons ago, in hoary antiquity. Negative environmental impacts forced primitive tribes to pull up stakes and move elsewhere.
Since 1997 the author of the present article has been studying technogenic depositions in the cultural (habitation) layer on the site of the present large cities (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Chelyabinsk, Smolensk, among others). Such depositions range in age from the thirteenth to the twentieth century. He is also concerned with ancient camping sites, settlements and protopolies (towns) - from the Upper (Late) Paleolithic to the 18th century B.C. and on up until the 1 lth century A.D. Habitation deposits are of interest not only to archeologists alone-they make it possible to reconstruct paleoecological environments, for the microstructure of these deposits is a sufficiently stable diagnostic indicator.
Both ecologists and archeologists have found common ground today at a cross-roads of sciences like soil study, geography, geomorphology, biology and geology. New interdisciplinary trends and sciences have appeared-suffice if we mention the archeological soil science, archeological geology (geoarcheology or archegeology), and archeological mineralogy. True, for the most part these are still lone-wolf studies carried out by individual enthusiasts or at best by small research teams. As a matter of fact, ecology and archeology are in close touch with a rather promising research trend - the paleoecology of primitive human societies and archeological ecology. It thus becomes possible to explain the causes of major popular migrations as large g ... Read more