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Conjoinable Pieces and Site Formation Processes

  • Paola Villa (a1)

Abstract

Evidence provided by conjoined bone and lithic fragments from Old World sites such as Gombe Point, Meer II. Terra Amata, and Hortus shows that disturbance during burial, or following deposition, may affect archaeological assemblages to a much larger extent than previously imagined. The existence of an apparently undisturbed matrix, or of a finely stratified sequence, is not enough to rule out vertical displacement of artifacts and, in the case of multilevel sites, mixture of assemblages. As a result, many inferences based on fine stratigraphic controls may be open to question. Conjoined pieces can be used to test the presence and extent of stratigraphic disturbances that have not left clear, macroscopic traces in archaeological sediments and which have, therefore, few chances of being recognized.

Before all things, brethren, we admonish and command you … that when you hear an exposition of the mystery of the Scriptures telling of things that took place, you believe what is read to have actually taken place as the reading narrates; lest undermining the foundation of actuality, you seek, as it were, to build'in the air.

St. Augustine

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