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Examples of cooperations within AU STAR

Søby Brunkulslejer and the Anthropocene

The abandoned settlement belonging to the former open lignite mine at Søby, central Jutland, is examined archaeologically to understand details about the history of the place, and about anthropogenic changes in the environment.

The barracks had been torn down after the abandonment of the mine. Today, the area is overgrown with shrubs and the forest is reclaiming the site.

On December 18, 2015, we conducted a small-scale excavation in a refuse pit in the abandoned settlement. The interdisciplinary team comprised archaeologists and a physicist - Christina Vestergaard Sørensen, Kristoffer Hangstrup Fredensborg Nielsen and Bente Philippsen. Besides archaeological finds, we collected several soil samples for geochemical analyses.

Soil samples were collected in bags and as sediment cores from the sides of the pit. In this way, we can follow the sedimentation history of the pit. Our aim is to find out, when human influence on the environment was so massive that human actions can count as a geological force, defining a new era - the Anthropocene.

You can learn more about the project at the exhibition "Mild Apocalypse - Feral Landscapes in Denmark" at Moesgård Museum from February 4 to June 4, 2016. anthropocene.au.dk/currently/events/show/artikel/mild-apocalypse-feral-landscapes-in-denmark/

The museum at Søby displays how lignite was mined.
Christina indicates the excavation site in the abandoned settlement.
A bicycle frame, through which a root had grown, was found near the surface of the refuse pit.
Sediment cores provide samples for analysing the sedimentation history of the pit.