Luminescence investigations at Quendale (Broo Peninsula, Shetland)

Kinnaird, T. C., Sanderson, D. C.W. and Simpson, I. A. (2013) Luminescence investigations at Quendale (Broo Peninsula, Shetland). Technical Report. SUERC, University of Glasgow.

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This report is concerned with optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) investigations of sediment samples collected from ongoing University of Southern Maine archaeological excavations at the Links of Quendale, southern Shetland, investigating the early-modern township of Broo. 11 sediment samples were submitted to the luminescence laboratory at SUERC for OSL dating by Ian Simpson. This report summaries the protocols, and laboratory analysis, employed in quartz single aliquot regenerative (SAR) OSL dating, as used to construct an OSL chronology for wind-blown sands in proximity to the Broo excavations, in association with archaeological structures (5 samples), and for sands in the coastal and inland dune systems (6 samples). The chronology established for the inland sands, in contexts associated with the Broo 2 building and enclosure, spans from AD1540 ± 40 (SUTL2441) through to AD1810 ± 25 (SUTL2519), encompassing the archaeological period of interest. The dates obtained for sands within the enclosed and unenclosed areas to the immediate east and southwest of the excavated Broo site, are AD1760 ± 30 - AD1760 ± 25, and AD1810 ± 25 (SUTL2517-2518 and 2519, respectively), are consistent with the expectation that the clean sands which infill these structures, post-date the period in which the Broo township was abandoned. The coastal sand accumulations, as so far dated, yielded luminescence ages of 2380 ± 230 BC (SUTL2526), 1510 ± 270 BC (SUTL2527), AD 1030 ± 80 (SUTL2528), AD 1690 ± 50 (SUTL2529), AD 1720 ± 20 (SUTL2530) and a mixed-age sample with youngest component at AD 1955 ± 15 (SUTL2531), implying periods of sand mobilisation, synchronous with sand deposition in Orkney and northern Scotland, in the late Neolithic, the Early Bronze Age, the Norse period, the early-modern, and modern periods. This work suggests that the present-day physio-geographical setting of the Quendale Links, comprised of the coastal sand barrier, and the inland dune fields, is a product of a prolonged history of sand mobilisation, erosion and deposition from the Neolithic to the present day. Furthermore, the emerging temporal framework, coupled with the spatial distribution of dune forms across the Links, raises questions as to whether Little Ice Age storms were responsible for deposition, or erosive destruction of older dune-forms, and the re-mobilisation of this sediment. To test these ideas, profiling methods, both field- and laboratory- based, could be employed to obtain a more complete temporal and spatial characterisation of the dune systems and excavated sequences. Further OSL sampling and dating would be needed to define the vertical and lateral chronostratigraphies of the environmental features in the landscape and their relationships to archaeological structures.

Item Type:Research Reports or Papers (Technical Report)
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kinnaird, Dr Timothy and Sanderson, Professor David
Authors: Kinnaird, T. C., Sanderson, D. C.W., and Simpson, I. A.
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Publisher:SUERC, University of Glasgow
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 The Authors
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the authors.

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