Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 269–278 | Cite as

Why does (archaeological) micromorphology have such little traction in (geo)archaeology?

  • Paul GoldbergEmail author
  • Vera Aldeias
Original Paper


Archaeological deposits are often complex and illustrative of an intricate interplay between geogenic and anthropogenic inputs and formation processes. Even for those archaeologists—particularly prehistorians—who consider the basic principles of natural stratigraphy to excavate their sites, they nonetheless typically underutilize the observations and data available at the microstratigraphic level. The technique of soil micromorphology—or archaeological micromorphology as referred to throughout this paper—has seen an astounding increase in its use to answer archaeological questions and archaeological sediments in the last decades. However, we consider that this tool is still quite underutilized and not as mainstream as other techniques. In this paper, we briefly reflect on what can be some of the causes underlying this situation and how we (that is, both producers and consumers of micromorphology data) can go about to change it. The main idea is that we need to establish a better and more approachable way to present micromorphological results and be better at integrating them with the macroscopic archaeological data and research questions.


Micromorphology Geoarchaeology Site formation Archaeological sediments Soils 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  2. 2.Center for Archaeological SciencesEberhard Karls University TübingenTübingenGermany
  3. 3.Department of ArchaeologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Human EvolutionMax Planck Institute for Evolutionary AnthropologyLeipzigGermany
  5. 5.Interdisciplinary Center for Archaeology and Evolution of Human Behavior (ICArEHB)Universidade do AlgarveFaroPortugal

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