Talk:Stratigraphy (archaeology)

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I don't know where the anon copied this from, but it is a bunch of essentially meangless jargon to me. If anyone want to interpret it and maybe salvave something readable from it be my guest. Probably need to check for copyvio>

Archaeological stratigraphy is the dynamic superimposition of "positive" "protecting" solid volume body entities - "deposits/fills", formed in a single "action" or combination of "site formation" and or "taphonomic" processes and by the "negative" action of the removal of a "solid body volume", the destruction/demolition/truncation of a deposit which produces "zero thickness surfaciques" - "cuts" in 4 dimensional space/time. Theses "actions" are called "stratigraphical units" or "contexts". The matter removed during the process of cutting is deposited elsewhere in one or more seperate new deposits. Immediate stratigraphical relationships between "cuts" and "deposits" form "interfaces". Combinations of "interfaces" form a "primary interface" which individually or in combination form a "phase". The chronological superimposition of stratigraphical relationships of an archaeological site is recorded using a Harris Matrix, a type of "flow chart". Archaeological stratigraphy is chronologically positively linear and episodic. Archaeologists use "the single context system" invented by Pete Addyman allied with the Harris Matrix to record 4 dimensional space/time on what is effectively a 2 dimensional piece of paper.

Above removed from article. Vsmith 01:45, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

The above is basically correct, i will translate a bit for you. (Boris drive by poster) .Archeological stratification or sequence is the dynamic superimpostion of single units of stratigraphy or contexts. contexts are single events or actions that leave discreet detectable traces in the archaeological sequence or stratigraphy, these can be deposits such as the back-fill of a ditch, structures such as walls or "zero thickness surfaciques" better know as "cuts". Cuts represent actions that remove other solid contexts such as; fills, deposits and walls, an example would be a ditch "cut" through earlier deposits. Stratigraphic relationships are the relationships created between contexts in time representing the chronological order they were created, an example would be a ditch and the back-fill of said ditch. the relationship of "the fill" context to the ditch "cut" context is "the fill" occurred later in the sequence, you have to dig a ditch first before you can back-fill it. A relationship that is later in the sequence is sometimes refereed to as "higher" in the sequence and a relationship that is earlier "lower" though the term higher or lower does not itself imply a context needs to be physically higher or lower. It is more useful to think of the higher term as it relates to the contexts position in a Harris matrix which is a two dimensional representation of a sites formation in space and time. understanding a site in modern archaeology is process of grouping single contexts together in ever larger groups by virtue of their relationships. the terminology of these larger clusters varies depending on practitioner but the terms interface, sub-group and group are common. Examples of a sub-groups could be three contexts that made up a burial; the grave cut, the body and the back-filled earth on top of the body. in turn sub-groups can be clustered together with other sub groups by virtue of there stratigraphic relationship to form groups which in turn form "phases". A sub-group burial could cluster with other sub groups burials to form a cemetery which in turn could be clustered with a building such as church to produce a "phase". Phase is the most easily understood grouping for the layman as it implies a near contemporaneous archaeological horizon representing "what you would see if you went back to time X". the production of phase interpretations is the first destination of stratigraphic interpretation and excavation. Digging "in phase" is not quite the same as phasing a site. Phasing a site represents reducing the site either in excavation or post excavation to contemporaneous horizons where as "digging in phase" is the process of stratigraphic removal of archaeological remains so as not to remove contexts that are earlier in time "lower in the sequence" than other contexts that have a physical stratigraphic relationship to them as defined by the law of superposition. hth btw the title of the article is misspelt? no second a in archaeology? how do you edit the title?Boris 22:52, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

stratification and all topics directly related to stratigraphy are not dating methods[edit]

Dating methods are a menas of identifying the age of a context or artifact be it relative or absolute. stratigraphy is about the sequence of events and can be used as a tool in relative dating but is NOT in itself a dating method Boris 20:04, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

page name[edit]

Would anyone strongly object to the changing of this page's name? the spelling used in the page name is inconsistant with the use in the article. I propose using the "ae" spelling as opposed to the current spelling. --Tainter 22:12, 10 February 2007 (UTC)


I've only just come across this and how unsatisfactory it is. Now I've moved it and (slightly) cleared up the opening paragraph I intend to clear up the rest of it. Feel free to remind me if I forget! PatHadley (talk) 23:00, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Just found this image from Harris' book that isn't used on WP!? PatHadley (talk) 23:02, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Let's try this entry in plain English[edit]

The problem with precise, expert-written copy is that it is often obfuscatory, abstruse or entirely opaque. Welcome to "Stratigraphy (architecture)."

The following is not acceptable as an English sentence, argot, scientific accuracy, or not:

The principle of stratigraphic succession states that any given unit of archaeological stratification takes its place in the stratigraphic sequence of a site from its position between the undermost of all units which lie above it and the uppermost of all those units which lie below it and with which it has a physical contact, all other superpositional relationships being regarded as redundant.

Perhaps this:

The principle of stratigraphic succession states that any layer of archaeological stratification fits into a site's "stratigraphic sequence" based on its position between the layers directly above and below it, and with which it has contact. All other relationships are regarded as superfluous.

I'm pretty sure that "redundant" is incorrect, given that it means replicative. "Superfluous" means unnecessary, which seems to be the operating principle.

I hope it's more fun in the field than the copy suggests.

All Best,

Dstlascaux (talk) 03:54, 19 May 2012 (UTC)