Stratigraphy harris matrices relative dating of australian rock art

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Therefore, if any edge of the deposit is exposed in a vertical plane view, a part of its original extent must have been removed by excavation or erosion: its continuity must be sought, or its absence explained.

Any given unit of archaeological stratification takes its place in the stratigraphic sequence of a site from its position between the undermost of all units which lie above it and the uppermost of all those units which lie below it and with which it has a physical contact, all other superpositional relationships being regarded as redundant. A fifth law of archaeological stratigraphy has also been added following papers presented at the "Interpreting Stratigraphy a Review of the Art" conferences in the UK from 1992 to 2003.

Urban archaeological sites are complex affairs, often generating thousands of units of archaeological stratigraphy (contexts), it is of even more vital importance when excavating such sites to compile the matrix as the excavation progresses.

Such sites by definition produce multi-linear sequences of succession and to date the best way to get a handle of these sequences is to compile the matrix by hand, based on the drawings and the context sheets, this ensures an internally consistent record and that the complexity of the site is given due regard.

Then a shallow pit 8 was cut and then back filled with 7, this pit feature in turn was "sealed" by the laying down of layer 1 which is probably the same event as layer 4.

Following this a major change in land use occurs as construction cut 5 is dug and immediately followed by trample off the feet of people 12 working in the construction cut 5 who then build wall 2 after which they backfill excess space between the wall 2 and cut 5 with backfill 3.

Finally clay floor 6 is laid down to the right of wall 2 over backfill 3 indicating a probable interior surface.

The nature of archaeological investigation and the subjective nature of all human experience means that a degree of interpretive activity obviously occurs during the process of excavation, the Harris matrix itself however serves to provide a check on observable quantifiable physical phenomena and relies on the excavator understanding which way in the sequence is 'up' and the ability of the excavator to excavate and record honestly, accurately and stratigraphically.

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The Harris matrix is a tool that aids the accurate and consistent excavation of a site and articulates complex sequences in a clear and understandable way.Harris matrices play an invaluable role in the articulation of sequence and provide the building blocks from which higher order units of stratigraphically related events can be constructed.Take this hypothetical section as an example of matrix formation.However, archaeological sections, while being useful and valuable, only ever present a slice or caricature of a sequence, and often underrepresent its complexity, the use of archaeological sections when dealing with stratigraphic complexity is limited and their use should be context-sensitive rather than as a running arbiter of sequence.Professor Martin Carver of the University of York has also developed a seriation diagram, known as the Carver matrix (not to be confused with the military term also named CARVER matrix).

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