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DFG: Land use and soil erosion during the period of prehistoric agriculture in Southeastern USA

Projekt Informationen

Markus Dotterweich

06.2012 until 12.2013

German Research Foundation (DFG)


The proposed research project aims to explore erosion forms, colluvial sediments and buried soils in selected 0-order and 1st-order watersheds in the Southeastern USA in order to gain, solidify, and evaluate general data on soil erosion during the Native American land use period and its respective long-term effects on the environment. The project will achieve its aims by
1) recording the stratigraphy of colluvial and alluvial sediments and buried soils,
2) mapping the extent of erosional and colluvial forms,
3) analysing chemical and physical soil and sediment properties,
4) establishing chronological control using various dating techniques including radiocarbon and OSL dating, and
5) quantifying soil erosion using hillslope sediments. The gathered data will be used to i) compare the spatial extent of prehistoric and historic erosion and the short-term and long-term pedological and geomorphological effects of subtle soil erosion against extreme events, ii) assess the feedback-mechanisms of soil erosion on soil fertility and measurable land use changes in prehistorical and historical times, and (iii) estimate the long term effects of soil erosion and sediment deposition on archaeological features. The outcome will provide a decisive step forward to gather new information on soil erosion during the Native American land use period to be able to achieve a better understanding of the long-term human induced landscape evolution in the uplands of the Southeastern USA and deliver data for a better predicting of landscape evolution to future climatic shifts in precipitation regimes.


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