Matrix and Environmental Deposits

  • Mary E. Malainey
Part of the Manuals in Archaeological Method, Theory and Technique book series (MATT)


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.


Electron Spin Resonance Archaeological Site Optically Stimulate Luminescence Optically Stimulate Luminescence Signal Uranium Series 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Knudson, Kelly J., Lisa Frink, Brian W. Hoffman, and T. D. Price 2004 Chemical Characterization of Arctic Soils: Activity Area Analysis in Contemporary Yup'ik Fish Camps using ICP-AES. Journal of Archaeological Science 31(4):443–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Shen, Guanjun, Hai Cheng, and R. L. Edwards 2004 Mass Spectrometric U-series Dating of New Cave at Zhoukoudian, China. Journal of Archaeological Science 31(3):337–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Butler, S. 1992 X-Radiography of Archaeological Soil and Sediment Profiles. Journal of Archaeological Science 19(2):151–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burbidge, C. I., C. M. Batt, S. M. Barnett, and S. J. Dockrill 2001 The Potential for Dating the Old Scatness Site, Shetland, by Optically Stimulated Luminescence. Archaeometry 43(4):589–596.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Smith, B. W., E. J. Rhodes, S. Stokes, N. A. Spooner, and M. J. Aitken 1990 Optical Dating of Sediments: Initial Quartz Results from Oxford. Archaeometry 32(1):19–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Feathers, James K., Vance T. Holliday, and David J. Meltzer 2006 Optically Stimulated Luminescence Dating of Southern High Plains Archaeological Sites. Journal of Archaeological Science 33(12):1651–1665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Rees-Jones, J., and M. S. Tite 1997 Optical Dating Results for British Archaeological Sediments. Archaeometry 39(1):177–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Werts, S. P., and A. H. Jahren 2007 Estimation of Temperatures Beneath Archaeological Campfires using Carbon Stable Isotope Composition of Soil Organic Matter. Journal of Archaeological Science 34(6):850–857.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Rypkema, Heather A., Wayne E. Lee, Michael L. Galaty, and Jonathan Haws 2007 Rapid, In-stride Soil Phosphate Measurement in Archaeological survey: A New Method Tested in Loudoun County, Virginia. Journal of Archaeological Science 34(11):1859–1867.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Terry, Richard E., Fabian G. Fernández, J. J. Parnell, and Takeshi Inomata 2004 The Story in the Floors: Chemical Signatures of Ancient and Modern Maya Activities at Aguateca, Guatemala. Journal of Archaeological Science 31(9):1237–1250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Holliday, Vance T., and William G. Gartner 2007 Methods of Soil P Analysis in Archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Science 34(2):301–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Entwistle, Jane A., and Peter W. Abrahams 1997 Multi-Element Analysis of Soils and Sediments from Scottish Historical Sites. The Potential of Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry for Rapid Site Investigation. Journal of Archaeological Science 24(5):407–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Zhou, L. P., and T. H. van Andel 2000 A Luminescence Dating Study of Open-Air Paleolithic Sites in Western Epirus, Greece. Journal of Archaeological Science 27(7):609–620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary E. Malainey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyBrandon UniversityBrandonCanada

Personalised recommendations