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Archaeological recording and chemical stratigraphy applied to contaminated land studies

Photos-Jones, Effie, Hall, Allan J.
The Science of the total environment 2011 v.409 no.24 pp. 5432-5443
conjugated linoleic acid, consultants, stratigraphy, uncertainty
The method used by archaeologists for excavation and recording of the stratigraphic evidence, within trenches with or without archaeological remains, can potentially be useful to contaminated land consultants (CLCs). The implementation of archaeological practice in contaminated land assessments (CLAs) is not meant to be an exercise in data overkill; neither should it increase costs. Rather, we suggest, that if the excavation and recording, by a trained archaeologist, of the stratigraphy is followed by in-situ chemical characterisation then it is possible that much uncertainty associated with current field sampling practices, may be removed. This is because built into the chemical stratigraphy is the temporal and spatial relationship between different parts of the site reflecting the logic behind the distribution of contamination. An archaeological recording with chemical stratigraphy approach to sampling may possibly provide ‘one method fits all’ for potentially contaminated land sites (CLSs), just as archaeological characterisation of the stratigraphic record provides ‘one method fits all’ for all archaeological sites irrespective of period (prehistoric to modern) or type (rural, urban or industrial). We also suggest that there may be practical and financial benefits to be gained by pulling together expertise and resources stemming from different disciplines, not simply at the assessment phase, but also subsequent phases, in contaminated land improvement.