Earth Sciences and Archaeology

pp 269-293

Buried Artifacts in Sandy Soils

Techniques for Evaluating Pedoturbation versus Sedimentation
  • David S. LeighAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, University of Georgia

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Since the 1960s, it has become increasingly clear that once an artifact is deposited on a surface it is subject to many different types of displacement and burial processes that come under the general heading of pedoturbation (Hole, 1961; Johnson, 1990; Wood and Johnson, 1978). Pedoturbation refers to many different soil mixing processes that can result in the displacement, movement, and burial of artifacts (Table 10.1). Bioturbation, which includes faunalturbation and floralturbation, is the common mixing agent at most sites. Equifinality of artifact burial by pedoturbation or by various forms of sedimentation is a common problem that confronts archeological survey and site investigations, particularly in loose sandy soils and sediments. The goal of this chapter is to identify and discuss techniques suited to evaluate the relative importance of pedoturbation versus sedimentation processes at sandy sites with buried components.