Photo: Dan Seurer

Photo: Dan Seurer

Soil Micromorphology at Aztalan, Wisconsin

Jake Pfaffenroth

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON

In May and June 2015, my project located and excavated superimposed Woodland/Mississippian structure basins in Aztalan’s plaza. I extracted a total of eight soil blocks from across three 2x2 m units to aid interpretation of the structures’ complex stratigraphy. Five of the eight soil blocks were sent to National Petrographic, Inc. in Houston for epoxy resin impregnation and thin sectioning. The resulting thin sections can be viewed under a microscope, which provides the opportunity to examine the micro-morphology of the soil in ways that are impossible in the field. Micro-morphological analysis of the soil samples will help define the structures from one another and will be informative for understanding soil formation processes, particularly in light of some interesting XRF readings we also took.

 Example of a soil thin sction under microscope

Example of a soil thin sction under microscope