The scale of soil investigations in archaeology

V. T. Holliday, C. R. Ferring, P. Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Soil science (particularly pedology) and archaeology are closely allied in their temporal and spatial scales, and among the earth sciences, pedology is most similar to archaeology in operational and processual scales. These similarities in scale are apparent in both regional and site-specific studies. At large (regional) scales, soil stratigraphy has long been used in archaeology for correlating sites and for dating. Soil-geomorphic investigations also are compatible in scale to regional archaeological investigations, focusing on dating, environmental reconstruction, and landscape evolution,. Soil micromorphology (soil petrography) is also useful for regional geomorphic and archaeologic studies, including investigations of sediment provenance, landscape evolution, environmental reconstructions, and agricultural development. At small (site-specific) scales, the focus of pedology - the soil profile - is similar in scale to many archaeological sites (tens of centimeters to a few meters thick) and the scale of many pedological features is similar to that of archaeological features (a few millimeters to tens of centimeters). -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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