Using earth sciences to understand the archaeological record

Historic England Guidance


December 9th, 2015





This guidance document covers the use of geoarchaeology to assist in understanding the archaeological record.

Geoarchaeological techniques may range in scale from landscape studies to microscopic analysis, and are carried out by practitioners with specialist knowledge about the physical environment in which archaeological stratigraphy is preserved, and excavations take place. The main aim is usually to understand site formation processes, but there may also be issues concerning site preservation, refining field interpretations of archaeological contexts and identifying changes in the physical landscape through time.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
1. Introduction
2. Site formation processes and deposits
3. Geoarchaeological approaches to stratigraphy
4. Project organisation and planning
5. Where to get advice
6. Appendix 1: Methods
7. Appendix 2: Glossary of terms
8. Bibliography
9. Acknowledgements