Deflation Archaeology

  • Benjamin Davies
  • Simon J. Holdaway
Living reference work entry

Deflation is a geomorphological process that occurs when wind blows fine-grained sedimentary material away, leaving larger objects (clasts in gelological terminology) grouped together (lagged) on a lowered surface (Laity 2011). If archaeological artefacts occur in a matrix of fine sediments, then erosion can potentially remove the fine sediments, leaving these artefacts resting on a common surface. Deflated archaeological records are most common in environments where fine-grained sediments are exposed and therefore susceptible to aeolian transport, but there are other means of erosion, for example, freeze/thaw cycles, the drying and wetting of subsurface clays, or animal burrowing (Wood and Johnson 1978), and human earth-moving activities, for example, plowing that bring artefacts to the surface. Deflation archaeology may therefore be used to describe records where a variety of processes have concentrated artefacts together on a surface.

Archaeological sites in deflated contexts are...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anthropology, School of Social SciencesUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.University of YorkYorkUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Manuel Arroyo-Kalin
    • 1
  • Dorian Q. Fuller
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of ArchaeologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Institute of ArchaeologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK