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Sediments and Soils

  • Elizabeth J. Reitz
  • Myra Shackley
Chapter
Part of the Manuals in Archaeological Method, Theory and Technique book series (MATT)

Abstract

Sediments and soils record aspects of communities, drainage patterns, landscape histories, and site formation processes that place organisms, including humans, in their environmental and ecological contexts. Organisms, in turn, augment or facilitate interpretations of sediments and soils (compare Mudie et al. [2007] with Ryan et al. 2003). Today’s landscapes are not the landscapes of the past; they have changed in response to numerous, complex, abiotic and biotic forces. Documenting these changes and distinguishing between non-anthropogenic and anthropogenic causes and the consequences of such changes are among the primary goals of environmental archaeology. Recreating the sequence of changes in environments and ecosystems requires combining information about climates, weather patterns, sediments, and soils, as well as depositional and erosional processes that produced the sedimentary environment and information about the organisms associated with them (e.g., Langdon et al. 2010). This information places the site and its contents into temporal, spatial, and functional contexts that include landforms (features of the earth’s surface), habitats, and depositional setting, as well as past and present geomorphological processes (Table 5.1; Gladfelter 1977:522; Waters 1992:37). Regional stratigraphic studies and sedimentological analyses elaborate upon many of these processes.

Keywords

Parent Material Soil Horizon Archaeological Site Clastic Sediment Organic Sediment 
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.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth J. Reitz
    • 1
  • Myra Shackley
    • 2
  1. 1.Georgia Museum of Natural HistoryUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.Nottingham Business SchoolNottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK

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