Law of superposition
The law of superposition (or the principle of superposition) is a key axiom based on observations of natural history that is a foundational principle of sedimentary stratigraphy and so of other geology dependent natural sciences:
- Sedimentary layers are deposited in a time sequence, with the oldest on the bottom and the youngest on the top.
The law was formulated in the 17th century by the Danish scientist Nicolas Steno.
|If you have just labeled this page as a potential copyright issue, please follow the instructions for filing at the bottom of the box.|
The previous content of this page or section has been identified as posing a potential copyright issue, as a copy or modification of the text from the source(s) below, and is now listed on Wikipedia:Copyright problems (listing):
Unless the copyright status of the text on this page is clarified, the problematic text or the entire page may be deleted one week after the time of its listing.
|Can you help resolve this issue?
For more details on this topic, see Wikipedia:CP § Responding to articles listed for copyright investigation.
|About importing text to Wikipedia
For more details on this topic, see Wikipedia:Copying text from other sources.
|Instructions for filing
If you have tagged the article for investigation, please complete the following steps:
Superposition in archaeology and especially in stratification use during excavation is slightly different as the processes involved in laying down archaeological strata are somewhat different from geological processes. Man made intrusions and activity in the archaeological record need not form chronologically from top to bottom or be deformed from the horizontal as natural strata are by equivalent processes. Some archaeological strata (often termed as contexts or layers) are created by undercutting previous strata. An example would be that the silt backfill of an underground drain would form some time after the ground immediately above it. Other examples of non vertical superposition would be modifications to standing structures such as the creation of new doors and windows in a wall. Superposition in archaeology requires a degree of interpretation to correctly identify chronological sequences and in this sense superposition in archaeology is more dynamic and multi- dimensional.
- Principle of original horizontality
- Principle of lateral continuity
- Principle of cross-cutting relationships
- Principle of faunal succession
- Structural geology
- Harris matrix
- Stratification (archeology)
- Hamblin, W.K. The Earth's Dynamic Systems, A Textbook in Physical Geology, by W. Kenneth Hamblin, BYU, Provo, UT, Illus. William L. Chesser, Dennis Tasa, (Burgess Publishing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota), c 1978, pg. 115, "The Principle of Superposition and Original Horizontality;" pg. 116: The Principle of Faunal Succession, "The Principle of Crosscutting Relations;" pg 116-17: "The Principle of Inclusion," (as in the Steno discussion above).
- Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy. 40 figs. 1 pl. 136 pp. London & New York: Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-326650-5