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Sedimentation, re-sedimentation and chronologies in archaeologically-important caves: problems and prospects

Hunt, CO, Gilbertson, DD, Hill, EA and Simpson, D (2015) Sedimentation, re-sedimentation and chronologies in archaeologically-important caves: problems and prospects. Journal of Archaeological Science, 56. pp. 109-116. ISSN 1095-9238

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Excavations in the photic zones of caves have provided cornerstone archaeological sequences in many parts of the world. Before the appearance of modern dating techniques, cave deposits provided clear evidence for the antiquity, relative ages and co-occurrence of ancient human remains, material culture and fauna. Earlier generations of archaeologists had generally rather limited understanding of taphonomic and depositional processes, but the twentieth century saw considerable improvement in excavation and analytical techniques. The advent of modern dating and chronological methodologies offers very powerful tools for the analysis of cave fill deposits and this has resulted in the recognition of chronological incoherence in parts of some sites, with consequent re-evaluation of previous archaeological disputes. Obtaining multiple dates per context provides a means to assess the integrity and coherence of the archaeological and environmental records from cave fills. In the case of the Haua Fteah (Libya), this technique allowed the recognition of chronological coherence in low-energy depositional environments and limited recycling in high-energy contexts. We provide a conceptual model of the relationship between recycling, sedimentation rate and process energy. High-resolution investigation enables recognition of the complexity of the formation of cave sequences, thus an increasingly sophisticated understanding of human behaviour and environmental relationships in the past, and potentially gives a new life to old data.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2101 Archaeology, 0402 Geochemistry
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Elsevier
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2015 14:37
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 14:36
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/645

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