About this Book

Both earth science and geo-archaeology are two very unique discipline of science which shares a lot of resemblances to each other. Although the supposed differences between these two endeavors continue to be discussed (e.g., Butzer, 1982; Rapp and Hill, 1998), here we are basically concerned with any subject that bridges the interface between the earth sciences and archaeology, with the earth sciences including a wide array of subjects, such as geomorphology, sedimentology, geochronology, stratigraphy, geochemistry, geo-physics and pedology.

Among the earliest of the volumes on geoarchaeology was a collection of papers from a symposium titled “Sediments in Archaeology” held in England in the early 1970’s [Shackley & Davidson, 76’]. The papers from this groundbreaking effort were organized into themes that included Techniques, sediments of biological nature, Sedimentary Environments (coastal, lacustrine, and terrestrial environments).

Although some of these articles were local in scope, those on methodology encompassed a number of techniques that included magnetic properties of sediments as applied to prospection, stratigraphy, petrography, phosphate chemistry, and cave sediments. A decade or so later, Rapp and Gifford (1985) produced a multi authored volume that was very much methodology oriented. It included a broad array of subjects and techniques and their applications to archaeological problems, including the following: geomorphology (including sedimentary elements), palynology, anthrools, geophysical surveying and archaeomagnetism, isotope and dating studies, and sourcing of materials.

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