Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2021, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (11): 1675-1693.doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1917-x

• Special Issue: Fluvial and Geomorphological Features • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Heavy metal pollution from copper smelting during the Shang Dynasty at the Laoniupo site in the Bahe River valley, Guanzhong Basin, China

WU Menglei1(), JIA Yana2, ZHANG Yuzhu1,2, WEN Rui1, GUO Jiahua1,2, WANG Ninglian2, LIU Wanqing2, QIU Haijun2, WANG Haoyu2, XIAN Yiheng1, YU Chun1, YANG Ting3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Cultural Heritage Research and Conservation, Ministry of Education, School of Cultural Heritage, Northwest University, Xi'an 710069, China
    2. Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Earth Surface System and Environmental Carrying Capacity, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Northwest University, Xi'an 710127, China
    3. College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Minzu University of China, Beijing 100081, China
  • Received:2021-03-05 Accepted:2021-06-24 Online:2021-11-25 Published:2021-11-25
  • Contact: ZHANG Yuzhu E-mail:wmlnwu@nwu.edu.cn
  • About author:Wu Menglei (1989-), Engineer, specialized in environmental archaeology and cultural relic analysis. E-mail: wmlnwu@nwu.edu.cn
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41801060);The Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA20060201);The Open Foundation of the Key Laboratory of Cultural Heritage Research and Conservation of the Education Ministry in Northwest University of China(GXYDFA2018XBD003);The Open Foundation of the Key Laboratory of Cultural Heritage Research and Conservation of the Education Ministry in Northwest University of China(WYSYS201909)

Abstract:

Heavy metal pollution is hazardous for the environment and human health. However, there are few studies of heavy metal pollution caused by historic metallurgical activity. The Laoniupo site in the Bahe River valley, Guanzhong Basin, China, was an important settlement of the Shang Culture (1600-1046 BCE*We studied two stratigraphic profiles at the Laoniupo site, which were used for measurements of magnetic susceptibility, heavy metal concentrations, and AMS 14C ages to provide evidence of copper smelting activity at the site during the Shang Dynasty. The Nemerow Pollution Index and Geoaccumulation Index were calculated to assess the heavy metals record (Cu, Zn, Ni, Pb, Cr, and As) in the topsoil on the loess tableland. According to the Single Pollution Index, the topsoil was slightly polluted by As and unpolluted by Cu, Zn, Ni, Pb and Cr; according to the Nemerow Composite Pollution Index the topsoil was mildly polluted; and according to the Geoaccumulation Index, the topsoil was moderately polluted by As, slightly polluted by Cu, and unpolluted by Zn, Ni, Pb and Cr. The main cause of the heavy metal pollution in the topsoil is the presence of copper slag in the cultural layers that was disturbed by modern farming activity.

Background vales (mg/kg)

Key words: heavy metal pollution, copper smelting, Laoniupo site, Bahe River, Guanzhong Basin