Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Geoarchaeology: The Geomorphologist and Archaeology

  • Bruce G. Gladfelter
Abstract

The contributions of the earth sciences, particularly geomorphology and sedimentary petrography, to the interpretation and environmental reconstruction of archaeological contexts is called "geoarchaeology." The physical context provides a palaeo-environmental legacy liable to patterning and interpretation just as artifacts imply prehistoric cultural activity. Through field study and laboratory analyses, the geoarchaeologist elaborates the micro-, meso-, and macro-environments of a site, and provides input for erecting prehistoric human activity patterns in time and space. The categories of information that must be examined in the field, the range of interpretive problems that confront the field worker, and the laboratory techniques which corroborate field interpretations can be illustrated by examining archaeology in an alluvial site. These considerations emphasize the need to involve the geomorphologist in all aspects of the design and execution of an archaeological excavation.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Allen, J. R. L. 1965 A review of the origin and characteristics of recent alluvial sediments. Sedimentology 5:89191.
Allen, J. R. L. 1970 Physical processes of sedimentation: an introduction. George Allen and Unwin, London.
Beaubien, Paul L. 1971a Methods in the analysis of till fabrics. In Till: a symposium, edited by Goldthwait, R. P., pp. 321–27. Ohio State University Press, Columbus.
Beaubien, Paul L. 1971b Techniques of till fabric analysis. British Geomorphological Research Group Technical Bulletin No. 6.
Baulig, H. 1935 The changing sea level. Institute of British Geographers Publication No.3
Avery, B. W. 1974 Soil survey laboratory methods. Soil survey technical monograph, No. 6. Soil survey of England and Wales, Harpenden.
Benson, M. A., and Dalrymple, T. 1967 General field and office procedures for indirect discharge measurements. United States Geological Survey, Technical Water Research Investigation 3, Chapter Al.
Black, C. A. (Editor) 1965 Methods of soil analysis, Part I: physical and mineralogical properties including statistics of measurement and handling. Part II: chemical and microbiological properties. American Society of Agronomy Series, Monograph 9.
Bout, P. 1953 Etudes de géomorphologie dynamique en Islande. In Expéditions Polaires Francoises, 3. Actualités Scientifiques et Industielles 1197 Hermann and Cie, Paris.
Brunnacker, K. 1975 The mid-Pleistocene of the Rhine basin. In After the australopithecines: stratigraphy, ecology and culture change in the middle Pleistocene, edited by Butzer, K. W. and Isaac, G. L., pp. 189224. Mouton, The Hague.
Butzer, K. W. 1971 Environment and archaeology. Aldine, Chicago.
Butzer, K. W. 1973 Geology of Nelson Bay Cave, Robberg, South Africa. South African Archaeological Bulletin 28:97110.
Butzer, K. W. 1974 Accelerated soil erosion: a problem of man-made relationships. In Perspectives on environment, edited by Manners, I. R. and Mikesell, M. W., pp. 5778. Association of American Geographers, Washington.
Butzer, K. W., and Gladfelter, B. G. 1968 Quartz-grain micromorphology. In Desert and river in Nubia: geomorphology and prehistoric environment at Aswan reservoir, edited by Butzer, K. W. and Hansen, C. L., pp. 473–81. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.
Cailleux, A. 1942 Les actions eolinnes periglaciaires en Europe. Mémoir Societe Géologie France 46.
Cailleux, A. 1947 Granulomére des formations à galets'. In La géologie terrains recent dans I'ouest de VEurope, pp. 91114. Rep. Extraordinaire Sessions Societe Beiges Geologie.
Carson, M. A., and Kirkby, M. J. 1972 Hillslope form and process. Cambridge University Press, London.
Carver, R. E. (Editor) 1971 Procedures in sedimentary petrology. Wiley, New York.
Chorley, R. J. 1967 Models in geomorphology. In Physical and information models in geography, edited by Chorley, R. J. and Haggett, P., pp. 5996. Methuen, London.
Chorley, R. J. 1969 The drainage basin as the fundamental geomorphic unit. In Water, earth and man, edited by Chorley, R.J., pp. 7799. Methuen, London.
Clague, J. J. 1975 Sedimentology and paleohydrology of late Wisconsinan outwash, Rocky Mountain trench, southeast British Columbia. In Glaciofluvial and glaciolacustrine sedimentation, edited by Jopling, A. V. and McDonald, B. C., pp. 223–37. Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Special Publication 23.
Cooke, R. U., and Warren, A. 1973 Geomorphology in deserts. University of California Press, Berkeley.
CornwaU, I. W. 1958 Soils for the archaeologist. Phoenix, London.
Crampton, C. B. 1969 The chronology of certain terraced river deposits in the northeast Wales area. Zeitschrift für geomorphologie 13:24559.
Davidson, D. A., and Shackley, M. L. (Editors) 1975 Geoarchaeology: earth science and the past. Duckworth, London.
Dobkins, J. E. Jr., and Folk, R. L. 1970 Shape development on Tahiti-Nui. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 40:1167203.
Duffield, L. F. 1970 Vertisols and their implications for archaeological research. American Anthropologist 72:105562.
Dylik, J. 1960 Rhythmically stratified slope waste deposits. Biuletyn Peryglacjalny 8:3141.
Evans, P. 1972 Towards a Pleistocene time-scale. Part II. In The Phanerozoic time-scale-a supplement. Geological Society of London, Special Publication 5.
Fairbridge, R. W. (Editor) 1968 The encyclopedia of geomorphology. Reinhold, New York.
Farrand, W. R. 1975 Sediment analysis of a prehistoric rock shelter: the Abri Pataud. Quaternary Research 5:126.
Folk, R. L. 1966 A review of grain-size parameters. Sedimentology 6:7393.
Folk, R. L. 1974 Petrology of sedimentary rocks. Hemphill Publishing, Austin, Texas.
Folk, R. L., and Ward, W. C. 1957 Brazos river bar: a study in the significance of grain-size parameters. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 27:326.
Ford, T. D. 1975 Sediments in caves. Transactions of the British Cave Research Association 2:415.
Friedman, G. M. 1961 Distinction between dune, beach, and river sands from their textural characteristics. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 31:51429.
Friedman, G. M. 1967 Dynamic processes and statistical parameters compared for size-frequency distributions of beach and river sands. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 37:32754.
Gladfelter, B. G. 1971 Meseta and campiña landforms in central Spain. Department of Geography Research Series 130. University of Chicago, Chicago.
Gladfelter, B. G. 1972 Cold-climate features in the vicinity of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex (England). Quaternaria 16:12135.
Gladfelter, B. G. 1975 Geomorphological meaning of a type locality: an example from the British Pleistocene. Proceedings of the Association of American Geographers 7:7680.
Greenwood, B. 1969 Sediment parameters and environment discrimination: an application of multivariate statistics. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 6:134758.
Greenwood, B. 1972 Modern analogies and the evaluation of a Pleistocene sedimentary sequence. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 56:14569.
Gregory, K. J. and Walling, D. E. 1973 Drainage basin form and process: a geomorphological approach. Arnold, London.
Griffiths, J. C. 1967 Scientific method in the analysis of sediments. McGraw-Hill, New York.
Gufllien, Y. 1951 Les grezes litees de Chartentes. Revue Geographic Pyrenees Sud-Ouest 22:15462.
Harris, S. A. 1969 The meaning of till fabrics. Canadian Geographer 13:31737.
Harris, S. A. 1975 Petrology and origin of stratified scree in New Zealand. Quaternary Research 5:199214.
Inman, D. L. 1949 Sorting of sediment in light of fluvial mechanisms. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 19:5170.
Johansson, C. E. 1963 Orientation of pebbles in running water: a laboratory study. Geografiska Annaler 45:85112.
Johnson, D. 1944 Problems of terrace correlation. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America 55:793818.
Johnson, D. L., and Hansen, K. L. 1974 The effects of frost-heaving on objects in soils. Plains Anthropologist 19:8198.
Jopling, A. V. 1971 Some techniques used in the hydraulic interpretation of fluvial and fluvio-glacial deposits. In Research methods in geomorphology , edited by Yatsu, E., Dahms, F. A., Falconer, A., Ward, A. J., and Wolfe, J. S., pp. 93116. Science Research Association, Don Mills, Ontario.
King, W. B. R., and Oakley, K. P. 1936 The Pleistocene succession in the lower part of the Thames valley. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of London 2:5276.
Klovan, J.E. 1966 The use of factor analysis in determining depositional environments from grain size distributions. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 36:11525.
Krinsley, D., and Donahue, J. 1968 Environmental interpretation of sand grain surface textures by electron microscopy. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America 79:74348.
Krinsley, D., and Doornkamp, J. C. 1973 Atlas of quartz sand surface textures. Cambridge University Press, London.
Krumbein, W. C. 1938 Size frequency distributions and the normal phi curve. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 8:8490.
Krumbein, W. C. 1941 Measurement of the geological significance of shape and roundness of sedimentary particles. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 11:6472.
Krumbein, W. C. and Pettijohn, F. J. 1938 Manual of sedimentary petrography. Appleton-Century, New York.
Krumbein, W. C., and Sloss, L. L. 1963 Stratigraphy and sedimentation. Freeman, San Francisco.
Kuenan, Ph. H. 1956 Experimental abrasion of pebbles: 2: rolling by current. Journal of Geology 64:33668.
Kukal, Z. 1971 Geology of recent sediments. Academic Press, London.
Leopold, L. B., Emmett, W. W., and Myrick, R. W. 1966 Channel and hillslope processes in a semi-arid area, New Mexico. s,United States Geological Survey, Professional Paper, 352 G.
Leopold, L. B., Wolman, M. G., and Miller, J. P. 1964 Fluvial processes in geomorphology. Freeman, San Francisco.
Link, A. G. 1966 Textural classification of sediments. Sedimentology 7:24954.
Lüttig, G. 1956 Eine neue, einfache geröllmorphometrische methode. Eiszeitalter und Gegenwart 7:1320.
Mason, C. C., and Folk, R. L. 1958 Differentiation of beach, dune and aeolian flat environments by size analysis. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 28:21126.
Moss, A. J. 1962 The physical nature of common sandy and pebbly deposits. American Journal of Science 260:33773.
Mrowka, J. P. 1974 Man's impact on stream regime and quality. In Perspectives on environment, edited by Manners, I. R. and Mikesell, M. W., pp. 79104. Association of American Geographers, Washington.
Nossin, J. J. 1959 Geomorphological aspects of the Pisuerga drainage area in the Cantabrian mountains (Spain). Leidse GeologischeMededelingen 24:283406.
Potter, P. E., and Pettijohn, F. J. 1963 Paleocurrents and basin analysis. Academic Press, New York.
Powers, M. C. 1953 A new roundness scale for sedimentary particles. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 23:11719.
Rittenhouse, G. 1943 A visual method of estimating two-dimensional sphericity. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 13: 7981.
Rose, J. 1974 Small-scale spatial variability of some sedimentary properties of lodgement till and slump till. Proceedings of the Geologist's Association 85:23958.
Royse, C. F. 1968 Recognition of fluvial environments by particle-size characteristics. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 38:117178.
Ruhe, R. V. 1975 Geomorphology: geomorphic processes and surficial geology. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
Rust, B. R. 1972 Structure and process in a braided river. Sedimentology 18:22145.
Rust, B. R. 1975 Fabric and structure in glaciofluvial gravels. In Glaciofluvial and glaciolacustrine sedimentation, edited by Jopling, A. V. and McDonald, B. C. , pp. 238–48. Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Special Publication 23, Tulsa.
Sahu, B. K. 1964 Depositional mechanisms from the size analysis of clastic sediments. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 34:7383.
Schumm, S. A. 1965 Quaternary Palaeohydrology. In The Quaternary of the United States, edited by Wright, H. E. and Frey, D. G., pp. 783–94. Princeton University Press, Princeton.
Schumm, S. A. 1968 River adjustment to altered hydrologic regimen-Murrumbidgee river and paleochannels, Australia. United States Geological Survey, Professional Paper, 598.
Schumm, S. A. 1972 Fluvial paleochannels: In Recognition of ancient sedimentary environments, edited by Rigby, J. K. and Hamlin, W. K., pp. 98107. Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Special Publication 16, Tulsa.
Schumm, S. A., and Lichty, R. W. 1965 Time, space and causality in geomorphology. American Journal of Science 263:11019.
Sengupta, S. 1966 Studies on orientation and imbrication of pebbles with respect to cross-stratification. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 36:36269.
Shackley, M. L. 1972 The use of textural parameters in the analysis of cave sediments. Archaeometry 14: 133–45.
Shackley, M. L. 1975 Archaeological sediments: a survey of analytical methods. Halsted Press, New York.
Simons, D. B., Richardson, E. V., and Nordin, C. F. 1965 Sedimentary structures generated by flow in alluvial channels. In Primary sedimentary structures and their hydrodynamic interpretation, edited by Middleton, G. V., pp. 3452. Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Special Publication 12, Tulsa.
Sneed, E. D., and Folk, R. L. 1958 Pebbles in the lower Colorado River, Texas: a study in particle morphogenesis. Journal of Geology 66:11450.
Solohub, J. T., and Klovan, J. E. 1970 Evaluation of grain-size parameters in lacustrine environments. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 40:81101.
Soons, J. M. 1962 A survey of periglacial features in New Zealand. In Land and Livelihood, edited by McCaskill, M., pp. 7484. New Zealand Geographical Society, Miscellaneous Series, No. 4. Caxton Press, Christchurch.
Steiglitz, R. D. 1969 Surface textures of quartz and heavy mineral scanning electron microscopy. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America 80:209194.
Stoddart, D. R. 1969 Climatic geomorphology: review and assessment. In Progress in Geography, edited by Board, C., Chorley, R. J., Haggett, P., Stoddart, D. R., pp. 159222. E. Arnold, London.
Tricart, J. 1970 Convergence de phénomènes entre l’action du gel et celle du sel. Acta Geographica Lodziensia 24: 425–36.
Tricart, J., and Cailleux, A. 1972 Introduction to climatic geomorphology. Longman, London.
United States Department of Agriculture 1960 Soil classification: a comprehensive system (7th approximation). Soil Conservation Service, Washington.
United States Department of Agriculture 1972 Soil survey laboratory methods and procedures for collecting samples. Soil survey investigation report 2. Soil Conservation Service, Washington.
Visher, G. S. 1965 Fluvial processes as interpreted from ancient and recent fluvial deposits. In Primary sedimentary structures and their hydrodynamic interpretation, edited by Middleton, G. V., pp. 116–32. Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Special Publication 12, Tulsa.
Visher, G. S. 1969 Grain size distribution and depositional processes. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, 39:1074106.
Vita-Finzi, C. 1969 The mediterranean valleys: geological change in historical times. Cambridge University Press, London.
Vita-Finzi, C. 1971 Heredity and environment in clastic sediments: silt/clay depletion. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America 82:18790.
Wadell, H. A. 1933 Sphericity and roundness of rock particles. Journal of Geology 41:31031.
Walker, P. H., and Hawkins, C. A. 1958 A study of river terraces and soil development on the Nepean River, N.S.W. Journal of the Royal Society of New South Wales 91:6794.
Washburn, A. L. 1973 Periglacial processes and environments. E. Arnold, London.
Wentworth, C. K. 1933 The shape of rock particles: a discussion. Journal of Geology 41:30609.
Williams, R. B. G. 1973 Frost and the works of man. Antiquity 47:1931.
Wolff, R. G. 1975 Sampling and sample size in ecological analyses of fossil mammals. Paleobiology 1:195204.
Yaalon, D. H., and Kalmar, D. 1972 Vertical movement in an undisturbed soil: continuous measurements of swelling and shrinkage with a sensitive apparatus. Geoderma 8:23740.
Zeuner, F. E. 1959 The Pleistocene period. Hutchinson, London.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed