Investigation of Hungarian Early Copper Age Settlements through Magnetic Prospection & Soil Phosphate Techniques
Vertical magnetic gradient measurements and soil phosphate analysis were employed for mapping the subsurface architectural characteristics of two Early Copper Age settlements at Vésztő-Bikeri, SE. Hungary. The geophysical investigations were part of a larger excavation campaign, the Körös Regional Archaeological Project, which is focused in the study of settlement organization, land use, and subsistence in the Neolithic-Copper Age transition on the Great Hungarian Plain. Ground prospection techniques covered two hill settlements, Veszto-20 and Korosladany-14, separated by a small creek running along the boundaries of the sites. The results of the magnetic survey defined the extent and layout of the structures and features across the settlements. Excavations at the site Veszto-20, following the geophysical survey, verified most of the geophysical targets, such as wall trenches, ditches, pits, and a system of concentric ditches enclosing the site. The soil chemical survey recorded high concentrations of phosphate around the perimeter of the site (near the circular enclosures). Test excavations confirmed that some of these high phosphate concentrations are associated with middens. Similar features were also identified at the hill of Korosladany-14, suggesting a pattern for the architectural planning of Early Copper Age agricultural settlements.