Wildland fires around the globe have been increasing in their severity and frequency, leaving natural and heritage resource managers to cope with their irreversible effects. Here, I review the literature on wildland fire environments and behavior and I investigate their influence on buried archaeological materials. To better understand this process, I propose and test a protocol which utilizes soil micromorphology and Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopy to quantify the impact of thermal energy on the sub-surface environment and the transformations that occur within the chemistry and mineralogy of common organic soils. An initial application of this protocol was carried out within the perimeter of a wildland fire near Logan Lake, British Columbia, which successfully measured on a millimetre-scale the heat diffusion pattern through the soil column. This analytical protocol can now be used in post-burn investigations to assess the effects of wildland fires on sub-surface archaeological materials of different regions.
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Thesis advisor: Berna, Francesco
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