Variability of laboratory procedures and results in geoarchaeology

Vance T. Holliday, Julie K. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Many laboratory techniques are available to geoarchaeologists to determine physical or chemical attributes of sediment or soil samples, and several techniques are often available for analysis of a single attribute. This is illustrated by analyzing duplicate sediment and soil samples from the British Camp Site (Washington) and Lubbock Lake Site (Texas) using two methods for organic carbon content, two methods for organic matter content, and three methods for calcium carbonate content, and several pretreatment procedures for particle‐size analysis. These comparisons illustrate that different methods of analysis for the same property of duplicate samples can yield different results. Therefore, when making comparisons with data from other sites or other investigators, the types of laboratory methods used in geoarchaeological analyses are important considerations. Choice of a particular technique will depend on a variety of factors, often conflicting, including the archaeological and geoarchaeological questions being asked, the physical and chemical nature of the samples, and the accuracy, efficiency, and cost of the method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-358
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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