Seminar Details

An Introduction to Geoarchaeology: How Understanding Basic Soils, Sediments, and Landforms can make you a Better Archaeologist

When: November 05, 2020 1:00-3:00 PM

Duration: 2 hours

Certification: RPA-certified


Individual Registration: $99 for SAA members; $149 for non-members

Group Registration: $139 for SAA members; $189 for non-members

Teresa Wriston, Ph.D., RPA is an Assistant Research Professor and Geoarchaeologist at the Desert Research Institute. Over the past 17 years, her geoarchaeological work has focused on human adaptation to changing environments as reflected by site location, preservation, and stratigraphic contexts in the western U.S. and southern Africa.

Archaeologists know the importance of cultural context in understanding the past but often fail to recognize the importance of the natural contexts of sites, features, and artifacts in their interpretations. Looking through a geoarchaeological lens can help every archaeologist begin to understand the natural contexts of their finds. This course is designed to introduce basic geoarchaeological methods to archaeologists interested in improving their research designs, optimizing their fieldwork strategies, enhancing their stratigraphic descriptions in ways that aid component definition and sampling procedures, and using natural contexts to complement their interpretations.

  1. Describe what geoarchaeology is and why is it important to archaeologists
  2. Explain the difference between soil and sediment
  3. Illustrate why the position of an archaeological site on the landscape matters
  4. Explain how natural processes effect the archaeological record