Principles of Geoarchaeology: A North American Perspective

Principles of Geoarchaeology: A North American Perspective

by Michael R. Waters
     
 

Geoarchaeological studies can significantly enhance interpretations of human prehistory by allowing archaeologists to decipher from sediments and soils the effects of earth processes on the evidence of human activity. While a number of previous books have provided broad geographic and temporal treatments of geoarchaeology, this new volume presents a single

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Overview

Geoarchaeological studies can significantly enhance interpretations of human prehistory by allowing archaeologists to decipher from sediments and soils the effects of earth processes on the evidence of human activity. While a number of previous books have provided broad geographic and temporal treatments of geoarchaeology, this new volume presents a single author's view intended for North American archaeologists. Waters deals with those aspects of geoarchaeology—stratigraphy, site formation processes, and landscape reconstruction—most fundamental to archaeology, and he focuses on the late Quaternary of North America, permitting in-depth discussions of the concepts directly applicable to that research. Assuming no prior geologic knowledge on the part of the reader, Waters provides a background in fundamental geological processes and the basic tools of geoarchaeology. He then proceeds to relate specific physical processes, microenvironments, deposits, and landforms associated with riverine, desert, lake, glacial, cave, coastal, and other environments to archaeological site formation, location, and context. This practical volume illustrates the contributions of geoarchaeological investigations and demonstrates the need to make such studies an integral part of archaeological research. The text is enhanced by more than a hundred line drawings and photographs.

CONTENTS
1. Research Objectives of Geoarchaeology
2. Geoarchaeological Foundations: The Archaeological Site Matrix: Sediments and Soils / Stratigraphy / The Geoarchaeological Interpretation of Sediments, Soils, and Stratigraphy
3. Alluvial Environments: Streamflow / Sediment Erosion, Transport, and Deposition / Alluvial Environments: Rivers, Arroyos, Terraces, and Fans / Alluvial Landscapes Evolution and the Archaeological Record / Alluvial Landscape Reconstruction
4. Eolian Environments: Sediment Erosion, Transport, and Deposition / Sand Dunes / Loess and Dust / Stone Pavements / Eolian Erosion / Volcanic Ash (Tephra)
5. Springs, Lakes, Rockshelters, and Other Terrestrial Environments: Springs / Lakes / Slopes / Glaciers / Rockshelters and Caves
6. Coastal Environments: Coastal Processes / Late Quaternary Sea Level Changes / Coastal Environments / Coastal Landscape Evolution and the Archaeological Record / Coastal Landscape Reconstruction
7. The Postburial Disturbance af Archaeological Site Contexts: Cryoturbation / Argilliturbation / Graviturbation / Deformation / Other Physical Disturbances / Floralturbation / Faunalturbation
8. Geoarchaeological Research
Appendix A: Geoarchaeological Studies Illustrating the Effects of Fluvial Landscape Evolution on the Archaeological Record
Appendix B: Geoarchaeological Studies Illustrating Site-Specific Synchronic and Diachronic Alluvial Landscape Reconstructions
Appendix C: Geoarchaeological Studies Illustrating Regional Synchronic and Diachronic Alluvial Landscape Reconstructions

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816517701
Publisher:
University of Arizona Press
Publication date:
02/01/1997
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
398
Sales rank:
362,100
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
Preface
Acknowledgments
1Geoarchaeology3
Research Objectives of Geoarchaeology7
2Geoarchaeological Foundations15
The Archaeological Site Matrix: Sediments and Soils15
Stratigraphy60
The Geoarchaeological Interpretation of Sediments, Soils, and Stratigraphy88
3Alluvial Environments115
Streamflow116
Sediment Erosion, Transport, and Deposition120
Alluvial Environments: Rivers, Arroyos, Terraces, and Fans123
Alluvial Landscape Evolution and the Archaeological Record157
Alluvial Landscape Reconstruction163
4Eolian Environments185
Sediment Erosion, Transport, and Deposition185
Sand Dunes187
Loess and Dust202
Stone Pavements204
Eolian Erosion208
Volcanic Ash (Tephra)210
5Springs, Lakes, Rockshelters, and Other Terrestrial Environments215
Springs215
Lakes220
Slopes230
Glaciers234
Rockshelters and Caves240
6Coastal Environments249
Coastal Processes249
Late Quaternary Sea Level Changes251
Coastal Environments: Erosional, Submerged, and Depositional Coastlines254
Coastal Landscape Evolution and the Archaeological Record262
Coastal Landscape Reconstruction280
7The Postburial Disturbance of Archaeological Site Contexts291
Cryoturbation292
Argilliturbation299
Graviturbation301
Deformation304
Other Physical Disturbance Processes306
Floralturbation306
Faunalturbation309
8Geoarchaeological Research317
Appendix A. Geoarchaeological Studies Illustrating the Effects of Fluvial Landscape Evolution on the Archaeological Record321
Appendix B. Geoarchaeological Studies Illustrating Site-Specific Synchronic and Diachronic Alluvial Landscape Reconstructions323
Appendix C. Geoarchaeological Studies Illustrating Regional Synchronic and Diachronic Alluvial Landscape Reconstructions325
References327
Index389

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