On Nelson Island in western Alaska, some Yup'ik inhabitants built and inhabited semisubterranean houses until the early 1960s. This affords a unique opportunity to examine known activity areas of ethnoarchaeological soils using multielement chemical characterization of soils. These data can then be compared to archaeological investigations, allowing a nuanced and sophisticated understanding of the activities performed in the past. Here, we present elemental concentration data from soil extracts, generated with a quadrupole inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer, of the following elements in the soil extract recorded in parts per billion: sodium (Na), magnesium (Mg), aluminum (Al), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), titanium (Ti), chromium (Cr), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), cobalt (Co), nickel (Ni), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), arsenic (As), strontium (Sr), barium (Ba), lead (Pb), and uranium (U). When compared to an offsite area, the sod house samples were enriched in phosphorus and magnesium, and specific areas within the sod house exhibited different signatures related to different activities, including the incorporation of wood ash and waste into the soil.
- Elemental concentration
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