You are on page 1of 13


Archaeological SCIENCE
Journal of Archaeological Science 00 (2004) 113
Journal of

Geophysical prospection and soil chemistry at the Early Copper Age settlement of Veszto-Bikeri, Southeastern Hungary
Apostolos Sarris a, Michael L. Galaty b, Richard W. Yerkes c*, William A. Parkinson d, Attila Gyucha e, Doc M. Billingsley b, Robert Tate c

Laboratory of Geophysical-Satellite Remote Sensing and Archaeo-Environment, Institute for Mediterranean Studies, Foundation of Research and Technology, Hellas (F.O.R.T.H.), Rethymno, Crete, Greece b Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Millsaps College, 1701 North State Street, Jackson, MS 39210-0001, USA c Department of Anthropology, Ohio State University, 245 Lord Hall, 124 West 17th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210-1394, USA d Department of Anthropology, Florida State University, 1847 West Tennessee Street, Tallahassee, FL 32304-3359, USA e Munkacsy Mihaly Muzeum, Bekescsaba, Hungary Received 21 October 2003; received in revised form 23 November 2003; accepted 1 December 2003

Abstract Geophysical prospection and soil chemical analyses were conducted at the Early Copper Age (ECA, ca. 45003900 cal BC [Antiquity 76 (2002) 619, Journal of Field Archaeology (2004) in press] site of Veszto-Bikeri as part of the Koros Regional Archaeological Project investigations of the NeolithicCopper Age transition on the Great Hungarian Plain. The goal of these investigations was to locate and map subsurface features and activity areas at the settlement. Vertical magnetic gradient measurements dened the extent and layout of the structures and features across the settlement and revealed that previously unidentied concentric ditches enclosed the site. Excavations conrmed the locations of most of the wall trenches, postholes, ditches, and pits detected in the geophysical survey. The soil chemical survey recorded high concentrations of phosphate around the perimeter of the site, some of which were associated with a midden. With the geophysical survey, details of the plan and organization of the Early Copper Age settlement were revealed that could not be discerned from surface artifact distribution patterns and test excavations. The soil chemistry survey results showed a contrast between the cleaner center of the site (near the structures) and the ring of debris at the edge of the site (near the circular enclosures). The continuation of such nondestructive investigations at other ECA sites will help improve models of settlement organization during the NeolithicCopper Age transition.  2004 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Keywords: Hungary; Copper Age; Remote sensing; Geophysical survey; Soil chemistry

1. Introduction Nondestructive geophysical surveys can detect subsurface features such as pits, middens, walls, foundations, ditches, hearths, kilns, animal pens, pottery concentrations and burned structures [1,25,29]. This is done by measuring the physical properties of soils such as their magnetic susceptibility or electrical resistance on or below the surface, and by recording concentrations of

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +1-614-292-1328; fax: +1-614-292-4155 E-mail address: (R.W. Yerkes). 0305-4403/04/$ - see front matter  2004 Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2003.12.007

chemicals such as phosphorus, nitrogen, calcium, and carbon in the soil [1,35,11,18,25,26,2830]. Soil resistance techniques can be used to identify walls, ditches, and other features that contrast with the surrounding soil matrix in porosity, density, and water content. Magnetic methods are best suited for nding features that contrast with the surrounding soils in the concentration of the magnetic minerals they contain. Features such as pits, wall trenches, hearths, kilns, burned soils, habitation structures, and ditches lled with organic remains alter the magnetic susceptibility of the soil and are good targets for magnetic surveys. Magnetic surveying techniques have been used to locate and map buried features at several Neolithic and

A. Sarris et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 00 (2004) 113

Krs r.


0 50 100 200 km

Fig. 1. Map of the Carpathian Basin showing the location of Veszto-Bikeri.

Bronze Age settlements in Southeastern Europe [2,9,17,26]. At Veszto-Bikeri (Figs. 1 and 2), controlled surface collections and test excavations indicated that burned wattle-and-daub structures, circular pits, and wall trench features were present, but the layout and extent of these features was not clear [22,23]. Thus, it was decided that magnetic prospection techniques should be employed to record subsurface features and activity areas, given the geomorphological context of the low hill where this Early Copper Age (ECA) settlement was located and the expected subsurface targets [2123,25]. A high-resolution magnetic survey covering over 5000 m2 of the area surrounding the central excavation blocks (Fig. 2), was conducted in the period of June 30July 3, 2002 [25,29]. Also in summer 2002 an Oakeld soil probe was used to collect soil samples at 10 m intervals within a 9400 m2 grid at the center of the site and from transects extending 100 m east and 100 m south of the site (Fig. 3, [4]). These samples were analyzed for levels of Molybdate Reactive Phosphorous (MRP) using the methods described by Murphy and Riley [20]. The pattern of phosphate con-

centration in the soil provided information on site activities and organization that complemented the results of the magnetic survey. Undergraduate eld school students were active participants in both phases of these remote sensing investigations. 2. The Veszto-Bikeri Site The Koros Regional Archaeological Project was initiated to study Early Copper Age (ECA) settlement organization, land use, and subsistence on the Great Hungarian Plain [2123]. In 2000, Hungarian and American archaeologists and students tested the ECA Tiszapolgar Culture settlement at Veszto-Bikeri. This site is located just south of the well-known tell site of Veszto-Magor [7,12]. Veszto-Bikeri sits on a low hill overlooking an old channel of the Koros River near the modern town of Veszto, Hungary (Figs. 1 and 2). Unlike most shallow Tiszapolgar settlements where cultural deposits were destroyed by modern plowing [6,7,10,13,14,21], the surface materials at Veszto Bikeri retained their spatial integrity, suggesting that

A. Sarris et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 00 (2004) 113

Fig. 2. Contour map showing the topography of Veszto-Bikeri and excavation blocks from the 20002002 seasons. Contour lines represent 10 cm intervals.

sub-surface features remained intact [22,23]. The 2000 test excavations conrmed this, and parts of three wattle-and-daub structures were exposed in three 2 2 m units (the fourth test unit penetrated a midden at the southern edge of the site). In 2001, larger block excavations in the central area of the site uncovered the dirt oors of two of these structures (Features 4 and 5). The structures had been burned and leveled by the Tiszapolgar inhabitants, and are marked by layers of daub fragments in a clay matrix overlying a thin clayey silt oor deposit that contains small ecks of burnt daub, ECA ceramics, burnt bone, lithic artifacts, and ecks of charcoal. In one of the structures (Feature 4) some at-lying sherds and a burned and crushed

Tiszapolgar vessel were found at the interface between the daub layer and the top of the oor deposit. With the exception of an intrusive Hungarian Conquest period burial (10th century AD), all material that was found in and around the structures dates to the ECA Tiszapolgar Culture [22,23]. The 2001 eld school excavations provided information about the use and destruction of the wattle-and-daub structures, but no traces of their walls or interior posts were encountered. It was not clear if these structures were small, freestanding houses, or if they were rooms that were part of larger longhouse structures [7,12,22,23]. Some of the architectural features of the structures in the central area of the site were revealed during the 2002

A. Sarris et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 00 (2004) 113

Fig. 3. Map showing the location of phosphate samples (black dots), their relative values, and excavations blocks from the 20002002 seasons at Veszto-Bikeri. Higher phosphate values are represented by darker colors, lower values are indicated by lighter colors.

eld season. A burned structure (Feature 14) was uncovered just east of Feature 4, and we exposed a large wall trench that ran along the northern edge of both Feature 4 and Feature 14. Another large wall trench was uncovered running along the western edge of Feature 4, and some deep pits at the corners of the wall trenches were excavated, but no internal postholes, hearths, ovens, or kilns were found inside of the wall trenches. The form and extent of these wattle-and-daub structures and the location and layout of features associated with the structures was still not clear, so the magnetic and soil chemistry surveys were undertaken in order to locate

and map all of the structures, features, and activity areas at Veszto-Bikeri. 3. Magnetic prospection methods Magnetic measurements deal with anomalies or alterations of the earths uniform geomagnetic eld. Subsurface targets with magnetic properties dierent from those of the surrounding soil matrix change the local magnetic eld and create an anomaly in the measurements. The magnetic anomalies are directly related to the magnetic susceptibility of the soil or

A. Sarris et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 00 (2004) 113

Fig. 4. Photograph of Apostolos Sarris collecting magnetometric data at Veszto-Bikeri in July, 2002.

feature. Areas with enhanced magnetic susceptibility (with respect to the surrounding soil matrix) are measured as positive anomalies, while areas with lower concentrations of ferrous oxides (and reduced magnetic susceptibility) are represented as negative magnetic anomalies. Features such as pits, wall trenches, burned soils, structures, and ditches have a dierent magnetic susceptibility than the surrounding soil matrix. These features are usually characterized by an increase in susceptibility, which creates a weak magnetic eld and alters the local magnetic eld [1,26,30]. Proton or caesium magnetometers are used to measure total magnetic eld strength, while proton, caesium, or uxgate gradiometers are used to measure the vertical or horizontal gradient of the total magnetic eld or one of its components. At Veszto-Bikeri, a Geoscan FM36 Fluxgate Gradiometer was used to measure the vertical gradient of the local magnetic eld, namely the dierence of the vertical component of the magnetic eld at two dierent heights. The two gradiometer sensors (spaced 0.5 m apart) are very sensitive to anomalies up to 1.5 m below the surface. The instrument is able to read the vertical gradient of the magnetic eld with an accuracy of 0.1 nT/m. The magnetic survey was conducted by walking from South to North along 0.5 m spaced transects and taking measurements every 0.5 m or 0.25 m (Fig. 4).

3.1. Magnetic data processing procedures The magnetic data did not need to be corrected for diurnal variations of the earths magnetic eld, but all data were characterized by a constant shift of the average value within each survey grid. This was due to the shifting of base/reference stations and the balancing of the instrument. Pre-processing of the raw data was necessary so that there would be a common base level (0-level base line) for all survey grids. Each day, the raw data were entered into a laptop PC and each data set was coded by a survey grid number and given the appropriate coordinates within the site grid system. Statistical analysis of the common rows between adjacent survey grids and the average level of these adjacent grids were calculated in order to provide a correction factor for each new grid. A kriging interpolator with a linear variogram was used to produce a grid of the magnetic data and to produce contour and gray scale maps of the survey results. Selective despiking techniques were used in some cases to isolate the extreme values that masked the anomalies of interest. Selective compression of the dynamic range of values was also employed to isolate anomalies close to the background level. A mask le was created to isolate the central excavation blocks where magnetic survey was not conducted (Fig. 5). High-pass

A. Sarris et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 00 (2004) 113

Fig. 5. Synthetic image of the rectied data resulting from the 0.5 m and 0.25 m sampling interval at Veszto-Bikeri.

(gradient) lters and the calculation of rst horizontal derivatives helped emphasize the high frequency components of the geophysical maps. Interpretation maps were made based on the features that were identied as the data were processed. Both color and gray scale geophysical maps were produced. Hot colors (red shades) in color maps and light (white) colors in gray scale maps represent areas of high (positive) magnetic intensity. Cold colors (blue shades) and dark (black) colors represent low intensity anomalies [25]. 4. Results of the geophysical survey The mosaic of geophysical grids measured at 0.5 m intervals showed a systematic drift, which was especially

evident in the western and southern edges of the settlement (Fig. 5), but some subtle anomalies are present in the central area. When the data were rectied to the 0-level base line, the concentric curvilinear features at the site margin and the rectangular wall trench structures in the central area are more clearly delineated. The 0-level base line rectication is generally used to remove the drift of the measurements along the traverses. Even better resolution was obtained by re-surveying sections of the site at a 0.25 m interval (Fig. 5). When this was done, the boundaries of the circular and rectangular features are sharper and other anomalies could also be dened. These methods produced a regular pattern of anomalies that revealed the layout of the subsurface

A. Sarris et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 00 (2004) 113

Fig. 6. Diagrammatic representation of magnetometric anomalies at Veszto-Bikeri. Interpretation of magnetometric anomalies: A1A11 architectural remains; A12A13possible architectural remains; B1, B3, B4, B15metal anomalies (probably modern); B16, B17, B18, B20, B21pits or hearths; B6, B8, B9, B10possible pits or hearths; B2, B7, B12, B23possible pits; B14possible kiln or oven; C1, C3anomalies associated with ditches; C2anomaly possibly associated with ooding of canal.

features at the site even though there were no visible traces of these circular enclosures or rectangular wall trench features on the modern ground surface. The geophysical signature of the circular enclosures indicated that they were concentric ditches [25,29]. Magnetic data indicated that the diameter of the inner ditch is approximately 65 m and the outer ditch is about 75 m. The non-uniform magnetic signature of these circular features suggested that there were postholes within the trenches. The inner ditch was better

dened, probably because it was deeper. While the ditches seem to encircle the settlement, their magnetic signal is weaker in the west and southwest (Figs. 5 and 6) where they may have been partly eroded through cultivation or periodic ooding of the channel, which ows nearby. The extremely low (dark) anomaly in the northeastern corner of Fig. 5 that interrupts the ditches was caused by the long steel rod that was set in the ground at the datum point where the total station is setup.

A. Sarris et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 00 (2004) 113

4.1. Conrmation of the circular ditches Two long trenches were laid out in 2002 to bisect the ditches and establish ground truth for the features (Block 5 was 15 m 1 m and Block 6 was 10 m 1 m, see Fig. 2). Excavations conrmed that the inner and outer ditches were located exactly where they were mapped during the geophysical survey. As predicted, several postholes were exposed within the inner, deeper ditch (Fig. 7). In the two long excavation trenches, segments of this inner ditch were 0.8 m wide and extended up to 1.3 m below the present surface, and as much as 0.65 m below the base of the plow zone. The postholes within the inner ditch range in diameter from 0.2 to 0.3 m and extend another 0.5 m beneath the bottom of the trenches (1.551.8 m below the surface). The postholes were placed relatively close together, suggesting that they may have been associated with a substantial palisade (excavation of a 10 m 20 m block in the southeast corner of the site during the 2003 summer eld school exposed more of the circular ditches and postholes in the locations predicted by the geophysical survey). The outer ditch is irregular, 0.60.8 m wide, and was cut to depth about 1.0 m below the present ground surface. No obvious postholes were found in the 1-m segments of the outer ditch exposed in the two long excavation blocks. A third, narrow, shallow ditch was exposed midway between the inner and outer ditches (Fig. 7). The fact that this ditch was so narrow and shallow, and contained few artifacts and no burned daub, explains why it was not detected in the magnetic survey. Both the inner and outer ditches contained some Tiszapolgar ceramics, burned daub, bone, char coal, and shell. The artifact density in the trenches is much lower than what was found in the wall trenches and structures in the center of the settlement, but only ECA artifacts were found in the ditch ll. Radiocarbon assays on charcoal in the ditches provided dates that are contemporary with other carbon-14 samples from the site, and all date to the Early Copper Age [23]. 4.2. Rectangular structures Processing and ltering of the magnetic data allowed us to dene portions of at least eleven rectangular structures in the central area of the site (A1A11 on Fig. 6). The enhanced magnetic signal associated with these architectural features is due to the presence of burned daub and artifacts in the ll of the wall trenches, as well as the depth and width of these linear features. The isolated low (light) magnetic anomalies within the wall trenches are related to the traces left by postholes [25]. Short segments of the wall trenches associated with anomaly A1 were exposed in Block 1, a 2 2 m test unit excavated in 2000 [22,23]. This structure (A1) is about

10 m long (NS) and 5 m wide (EW). A smaller structure (A2) measuring 4 3 m lies o the SW corner of anomaly A1 [25]. Anomaly A3 was located just west of the central excavation block (Fig. 6). The eastwest linear feature along the northern edge of this anomaly lines up with the wall trench exposed along the N439490 grid line in the Block 2 excavations (excavation of an 8 m 12 m block west of Block 2 during the summer of 2003 exposed large wall trenches in the exact locations where the linear anomalies were recorded during the magnetic survey. This long trench is either the north wall of a large compound that contains two freestanding structures (Features 4 and 14), or the wall of a longhouse with two large rooms [22,23]). Anomaly A3 also includes linear features that seem to represent the western and southern walls of the longhouse (excavation of the 8 m 12 m block west of Block 2 in 2003 conrmed this). A smaller square structure measuring 3 3 m was identied adjacent to the north wall of anomaly A3 (Fig. 6). The other architectural anomalies (A5, A6, A7, A8, A10, and A11) form a tight arc around the central excavation blocks (Fig. 6). None of the linear features mapped by the magnetometer survey overlap, and our excavations suggest that while all of the structures at Veszto-Bikeri probably were not inhabited or used at the same time, they were all built or modied during a continuous occupation episode. 4.3. Possible pits, kilns, or hearths Several isolated circular anomalies have an NS axis of symmetry that indicates that they were caused by the presence of metal objects in the soil (B1 and B3 on Fig. 6). The high magnetic gradient anomaly (>250 nT/m) identied at B15 was caused by a large metal fragment, which masked an area of more than 4 4 m on the grid. Anomaly B5 has a similar magnetic signature, and the original high magnetic values near A6 also suggest the presence of a metal fragment. In contrast, the lower values of the vertical magnetic gradient (up to 30 nT/m) in the area of B14 suggest that this anomaly may represent a kiln, oven, or large hearth (excavations at this location in summer 2003 revealed a series of superimposed thermal features that may be kilns or ovens). Lower values (up to 7 nT/m) were recorded for monopole anomalies B16, B17, B18, B19, B20, and B21, which are all located slightly down slope along the western edge of the feature concentration in the center of the site (Fig. 6). These may be the geophysical signatures for a series of smaller hearths, kilns, or ovens [25]. Anomalies along the eastern edge of the central feature cluster (B6, B8, B9, B10, B11, and B13) may identify similar features.

A. Sarris et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 00 (2004) 113 9

Fig. 7. Photograph (A), plan (B), and prole (B) of Block 5 at the end of the 2002 season, showing the ditches that correspond to circular magnetometric anomalies that encircle the site.


A. Sarris et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 00 (2004) 113

4.4. Settlement layout and organization A few isolated anomalies lie outside of the central cluster (Fig. 6). Several of these (B2, B7, B12, B22, and B23) are located within the inner and outer circular ditches, and two of them (B7 and B12) may be related to discontinuities or entrances. Anomaly C3 near B7 may also mark an entranceway through the circular enclosures [25]. Excavations will be undertaken during future eld seasons to determine what kinds of features are located in the eastern and western arcs around the central structures. The signatures of the anomalies identied as A12 and A13 are not as distinctive. They are located near (west of) a portion of the Veszto-Bikeri site where human remains were found on the surface [21]. None the less, the magnetometry survey revealed that there is a dense concentration of anomalies at the center of the site, and parts of several of these features were exposed in the 2000, 2001, and 2002 excavations. While the distribution of burned daub and artifacts on the surface showed us where to nd the rectangular structures [22,23], there was no visible trace of the concentric, circular ditches. The identication of these features during the magnetic survey changed our interpretation of the site. Bognar-Kutzian [7] had suggested that pali sades and defensive features became superuous during the Early Copper Age. This was a time when she believed more peaceful conditions prevailed and there were widespread interactions across the Great Hungarian Plain. The triple enclosure around Veszto-Bikeri suggests that times may not have been so peaceful after all. Small portions of trenches or ditches have been exposed at the handful of Tiszapolgar settlements that have been partially excavated [7,21], but at Veszto Bikeri we have the rst evidence that the entire settlement was enclosed. We plan to employ geophysical survey at other ECA sites to determine if concentric circular ditches are present there as well. The magnetic survey also revealed rectangular anomalies (structures) in a dense cluster at the center of the area encircled by the concentric ditches. The area immediately surrounding the structures contains anomalies that may represent kilns, ovens, hearths, or pits. Between the structures (and other features) at the center of the settlement and the ditches surrounding the settlement, there are relatively fewer magnetic anomalies, suggesting that the area between the ditches and the structures may have been free of subsurface features and may have been used for keeping domesticated animals and dumping trash (see below). 5. Soil chemistry survey at Veszto-Bikeri The soil chemistry survey conducted by Doc Billingsley and Michael Galaty [4] provided complementary

information about the layout and organization of the Veszto-Bikeri site. Soil analysis provides information about the chemical composition of anthropic soils at the microscopic and elemental levels. Residues left over from human activities or as byproducts of human occupation may remain as chemical traces in soils, providing evidence of human activity even when the artifacts associated with these activities been cleaned up and removed [18,19,27]. One of the most archaeologically signicant components of soil chemistry is the analysis of phosphorus, an element that leaches from bones and organic tissues and concentrates in locations where organic materials were left to decay. In its phosphate ion form, phosphorus becomes a relatively immobile compound in soils (especially clays) and relative concentrations of phosphate in the soils at a site can be used to distinguish between clean living and working areas, and locations such as middens, dumps, stalls, and pastures where organic residues were concentrated [3,8,18,19,24,27]. Soil chemistry survey is another nondestructive method of data collection, and laboratory analysis of the samples of sediment relies on inexpensive, simple, lowhazard methods of chemical extraction and colorimetric techniques [15,18,20]. Since Veszto-Bikeri is a single component ECA site [22,23], interpretations of soil survey data are simplied since most of the features at the site can be attributed to the Tiszapolgar occupation. As noted above, geophysi cal prospection, surface collections, and previous excavations showed that the site consisted of a central cluster of large compounds or longhouse structures made of wattle-and-daub. Magnetic signatures for kilns, ovens, hearths and pits were mapped just outside of the central cluster. An open space separated this central living area from a midden ring or dumping zone that was enclosed by a triple ring of concentric ditches and palisades. Preliminary analyses of the faunal and oral remains showed that the ECA inhabitants of Veszto-Bikeri hunted, shed, and collected wild plants, and also raised domesticated plants and animals (including barley, wheat, sheep, goats, pigs, and cattle [21,23]. Soil survey data was examined, and areas of high phosphorus concentration were found outside of the central living area, suggesting the presence of animal pens or middens where large quantities of organic waste materials would have leaked phosphates into the soil. 5.1. Field sampling methods Soil chemistry survey was conducted by collecting samples at 10 m intervals along an 80 80 m grid over the site (Fig. 3). Additional samples were collected along two 100 m transects that extended east and south beyond the site limits. In addition, nine control points were sampled to establish the natural background levels

A. Sarris et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 00 (2004) 113


of phosphorus to be expected in the area near the site [4]. At each 10 m grid point (or control point) soil was extracted from the buried cultural layer 0.450.50 m below the surface using an Oakeld coring device. A second soil sample was taken from a shallower depth (0.150.20 m bs) at each point to test for modern disturbances. The two 5 cm soil core segments were taken from the sampling tube at the desired depths and collected in sterilized twist-and-seal Whirlpak bags. 5.2. Laboratory methods The quantiable colorimetric analysis of available Molybdate Reactive Phosphorus (MRP) content in each soil sample was accomplished using a modication of the methods outlined by Murphy and Riley [20]. This method provides for the determination of extractable particulate phosphorous (MRP) in soil samples using a single solution. As directed by the Murphy and Riley method [20], a mixed reagent consisting of 5 N sulphuric acid, ammonium molybdate, 0.1 M ascorbic acid, and potassium antimonyl tartrate was prepared. Six-ml portions of this solution were added to labeled test tubes, each containing 1 g of pulverized and dried soil, and stirred to promote solution of the soluble portion of the sample. After a minimum of 20 min the test tubes were centrifuged and a 5 ml aliquot of the bluish decantate was transferred to a test tube specially calibrated for use in a Beckman Spectrocolorimeter (Spec-20). This photometric test tube was diluted to 10 ml with distilled, de-ionized water and agitated to promote homogenous color diusion. The photometric test tube was placed in the Spec-20 colorimeter and the light transmittance and absorbance at 800 nm was measured and recorded. The values returned are standardized and quantied, as they are reported using a Spec-20 colorimeter. The data attained from laboratory analysis were entered into spreadsheets for further interpretation. 6. Results and interpretation The extractable phosphorous (MRP) values at the sample points on the site grid were used to create contour maps (Fig. 3) [8]. The areas with the highest MRP levels are located at the perimeter of the site, while consistently low levels were found in the central area of the site. This pattern is consistent with the model for agricultural settlements where residents removed organic waste (high in phosphates) from living quarters and deposited their trash in ring middens at the perimeter of the site [16]. The low MRP levels in the area around the central structures indicates that organic waste was not a constituent of the daub that covered the walls of these structures [4]. However, higher levels of MRP were also recorded in the area where possible kilns, ovens, pits, or hearths

were mapped during the magnetic survey (Fig. 6, anomalies B9, B10, B16, B17, B18, B19, B20, B21). The extractable phosphorus (MRP) levels near these probable cooking and food storage features were higher than the levels in and near the structures, but lower than the levels at the perimeter of the site. This suggests that not as much organic refuse accumulated near these features. The highest MRP levels or hot spots at the perimeter of the site where no features have been identied may indicate that domesticated livestock were kept at these locations [8,27]. Further excavations are needed to conrm these hypotheses. 6.1. The southern and eastern transects Extractable phosphorus (MRP) levels were also recorded in the two transects extending 100 m east and south of the site to establish settlement boundaries and provide additional background values. In the south transect for the entire 100 m, MRP levels drop to within the natural background values that were established using the random samples that were collected away from the site (see above). This establishes the southern boundary of the settlement at the line of concentric ditches and also implies that modern agricultural practices have not aected the background levels of MRP. The eastern transect contains several points within these natural background limits, however, approximately 55 m east of the outer circular ditch (grid point 664190) east and extending 70 m to the end of the transect (at grid point E664260), extractable phosphorous (MRP) rises to levels similar to the highest concentrations found at the perimeter of Veszto-Bikeri (Fig. 3). However, since only modern debris is found on the surface here, and no Neolithic or Copper Age sites were recorded at this location during the Hungarian pedestrian surveys [7,10,13,14], the high MRP values here are probably associated with recent farming activities. 7. Conclusions Nondestructive geophysical prospection and soil chemical analysis at the site of Veszto-Bikeri provided new data that have helped us reconstruct the layout and organization of a small dispersed agricultural settlement. Controlled surface collections and test excavations established the integrity of the site and the fact that it was only occupied during the early Copper Age (Tiszapolgar culture 45003900 cal BC [22,23]). How ever, prior to the magnetic and soil chemical surveys, the boundaries of the site and the number and organization of the Tiszapolgar households at the site were not known. This work has shown that at the Veszto-Bikeri site a central cluster of 10 or 12 wall trench compounds and structures made of wattle-and-daub are anked on the east and west by kilns, ovens, hearths and pits. An


A. Sarris et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 00 (2004) 113 [2] H. Becker, Archaeologische Prospektion, Luftbildarcaologie und Geophysik, Arbeitshefte des Bayerischen Landesamtes fur Denkmalpege, Band 59, Munchen, 1996. [3] P.H. Bethell, I. Mate, The use of soil phosphate analysis in archaeology: a critique, in: J Henderson (ed.), Scientic Analysis in Archaeology, Oxford University Committee, Monograph No. 19, Oxford, 1989, pp. 129. [4] D. Billingsley, M. Galaty, Site soil chemistry at Veszto-Bikeri, Bekes County, Hungary, Paper presented at the 68th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Milwaukee, 2003. [5] V. Bjelajac, E.M. Luby, R. Ray, A validation test of a eld-based phosphate analysis technique, Journal of Archaeological Science 23 (1996) 243248. [6] I. Bognar-Kutzian, The Copper Age Cemetery of Tiszapolgar Basatanya, Archaeologica Hungarica, Akademiai Kiado, Budapest, 1963. [7] I. Bognar-Kutzian, The Early Copper Age Tiszapolgar Culture in the Carpathian Basin, Archaeologica Hungarica, Akademiai Kiado, Budapest, 1972. [8] J.S. Conway, An investigation of soil phosphorus distribution within occupation deposits from a Romano-British hut group, Journal of Archaeological Science 10 (1983) 117128. [9] A. Eder-Hinderleitner, W. Neubauer, P. Melichar, Reconstruction of archaeological structures using magnetic prospection, Analecta Praehistorica Leidensia 28 (1996) 131137. [10] I. Ecsedy, L. Kovacs, B. Maraz, I. Torma, Magyarorszag Regeszeti Topograaja VI, Bekes Megye Regeszeti Topograaja: A Szeghalmi Jaras (IV/1), Akademiai Kiado, Budapest, 1982. [11] R.C. Eidt, A rapid eld test for archaeological site surveying, American Antiquity 38 (1973) 206210. [12] K. Hegedus, J. Makkay, Veszto-Magor: a settlement of the Tisza Culture, in: P. Raczky (Ed.), The Late Neolithic of the Tisza Region: A Survey of Recent Excavations and Their Findings, Szolnok County Museums, Budapest-Szolnok, 1987, pp. 85104. [13] D. Jankovich, J. Makkay, B. Szoke, Magyarorszag Regeszeti Topograaja VIII, Bekes Megye Regeszeti Topograaja: A Szarvasi Jaras (IV/2), Akademiai Kiado, Budapest, 1989. [14] D. Jankovich, P. Medgyesi, E. Nikolin, I. Szatmari, I. Torma, Magyarorszag Regeszeti Topogrja X, Bekes Megye Regeszeti Topograaja: Bekes es Bekescsaba Kornyeke IV3, Akademiai Kiado, Budapest, 1998. [15] M.K. John, Colorimetric determination of phosphorus in soil and plant materials with ascorbic acid, Soil Science 109 (4) (1970) 214220. [16] T.W. Killion, Gardens of Prehistory: the Archaeology of Settlement Agriculture in Greater Mesoamerica, University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, 1992. [17] I. Kuzma, J. Tippak, Triple circular ditch system in Golianovo district, Nitra, Slovakia, in: M. Doneus, A. Eder-Hinderleitner, W. Neubauer (Eds.), 4th International Conference on Archaeological Prospection, Austrian Academy of Science, Vienna, 2001, pp. 138141. [18] J.B. Lambert, Traces of the Past: Unraveling the Secrets of Archaeology through Chemistry, Helix Books, Reading, MA, 1997. [19] W.D. Middleton, T.D. Price, Identication of activity areas by multi-element characterization of sediments from modern and archaeological house oors using Inductively Coupled PlasmaAtomic Emission Spectroscopy, Journal of Archaeological Science 23 (1996) 673687. [20] J. Murphy, J.P. Riley, A modied single solution method for the determination of phosphate in natural waters, Analytica Chemica Acta 27 (1962) 3136. [21] W.A. Parkinson, Integration, interaction, and tribal cycling: the transition to the Copper Age on the Great Hungarian Plain, in: W.A. Parkinson (Ed.), The Archaeology of Tribal Societies,

open space separates this central living area from a ring midden or dumping zone that is enclosed by a triple ring of concentric ditches and palisades (Figs. 3 and 6, and Fig. 7). Livestock may have been penned or tethered inside these enclosures. While further excavations are needed to establish ground truth for the entire settlement layout, a working model of an ECA settlement and its organization has been created and employed in our ongoing studies of the NeolithicCopper Age transition on the Great Hungarian Plain (ca 4500 BC). This transformation is marked by dramatic changes in house form, site layout, settlement distribution, and mortuary customs. The transition was part of a broad wave of culture change that spread across southeastern Europe [2123]. Late Neolithic/ Early Copper Age populations dispersed and abandoned the large villages and tells that had been inhabited for generations and adopted new lifestyles. This transformation aected nearly every aspect of social organization, from households and villages to regional cultures. By combining the results of nondestructive surveys with excavated data, we can reconstruct the layout and internal organization of the small, dispersed Early Copper Age (ECA) sites that were inhabited after the large nucleated Late Neolithic (LN) settlements were abandoned. It appears that each of the large household groups that lived together at tells and large nucleated sites moved to a new location and established a separate settlement. Our data suggest that the households at the large Late Neolithic sites become separate Early Copper Age sites (hence the seven-fold increase in site numbers from the LN to ECA periods in the Koros River Valley [21]). The rooms within the large LN houses become discrete structures at the ECA settlements. While the causes of these changes are still unclear, the results of our nondestructive surveys and our excavations at Veszto-Bikeri have provided us with a framework for future investigations. Acknowledgements Doc Billingsley and Robert Tate, the undergraduate participants in this study, were supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program. Additional support for the project was provided by the National Science Foundation US-Hungarian Cooperative Research Program, the Magyar-Amerikai Kutatasi Egyuttmukodes Program, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Ohio State University, Florida State University, and Millsaps College. References
[1] M. Aitken, Physics and Archaeology, second ed, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1974.

A. Sarris et al. / Journal of Archaeological Science 00 (2004) 113 International Monographs in Prehistory, Archaeological Series 15, Ann Arbor, 2002, pp. 391438. W.A. Parkinson, A. Gyucha, R.W. Yerkes, The Neolithic Copper Age transition on the Great Hungarian Plain: recent excavations at the Tiszapolgar Culture settlement of Veszto Bikeri Antiquity 76 (2002) 619620. W.A. Parkinson, R.W. Yerkes, A. Gyucha, The transition to the Copper Age on the Great Hungarian Plain: The Koros Regional Archaeological Project Excavations at Veszto-Bikeri and Korosladany-Bikeri, Hungary, 20002002, Journal of Field Archaeology (2004), in press. J.J. Parnell, R.E. Terry, Z. Nelson, Soil chemical analysis applied as an integrative tool for ancient human activities in Piedras Negras, Guatemala, Journal of Archaeological Science 29 (2002) 379404. A. Sarris, Geophysical prospection survey at Veszto, Hungary (2002), Technical Report, Laboratory of GeophysicalSatellite Remote Sensing & Archaeo-Environment, Institute for Mediterranean Studies, F.O.R.T.H., Rethymno, Crete, Greece, 2003.






[26] A. Sarris, G. Poulioudis, A. Giourou, V. Kevgas, D. Triantaphyllos, D. Terzopoulou, Geophysical Investigations of tumuli in Thrace, Proceedings of the 32nd International Symposium on Archaeometry, (Archaeometry 2000), Mexico City, 2001. [27] D.R. Schlezinger, B.L. Howes, Organic phosphorus and elemental ratios as indicators of prehistoric human occupation, Journal of Archaeological Science 27 (2000) 479492. [28] P. Spoerry, Geoprospection in the Archaeological Landscape, Oxbow Books, Monograph No. 18, Oxford, 1992. [29] R.R. Tate, Magnetometry at Veszto-Bikeri, Hungary, Paper presented at the 68th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Milwaukee, 2003. [30] J. Weymouth, Geophysical methods of archaeological site surveying, in: M.B. Schier (Ed.), Advances in Archaeological Method & Theory 9, Academic Press, New York, 1986, pp. 341351.