Matrix and Environmental Deposits
Studies of sediments from archaeological sites tend to either target compositional changes associated with past human activities or focus on establishing site chronology. Analysis of soil phosphorus content is particularly relevant to the former and is discussed in some detail. Trapped charge and/or uranium series dating techniques are typically used to obtain age estimates, with optically stimulated luminescence applied to sediments previously exposed to sunlight, and electron spin resonance and uranium series dating applied to cave deposits. The use of X-radiography to examine soils by Butler (1992) is an exception. Analyses of organic residues introduced into soil by human activity are presented in Chapter 23.