Home > Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project > Depositional Processes

Depositional Processes

Archaeologists are particularly interested in the various processes whereby artifacts become deposited in “archaeological” (that is documented by archaeologists) contexts.  Our site on Vigla is littered with modern trash that is in the process of becoming physically embedded in the soil matrix and working its way out of sight.

ViglaTrash2

ViglaTrash  

Plastic and aluminum are the modern equivalents of the ceramics from antiquity that provide the basic framework for understanding the chronology of ancient sites.  Like ceramics, plastic bottles and beer cans are hardy and will not break down easily in the soil and will surely assist the archaeologists of the future in establishing the chronologies of various stratigraphic levels.  Moreover, the discard of modern trash is a relatively well-understood practice allowing archaeologists to make the easy link between the material evidence on the ground and the human practices that produced them.

Some despositional events, however, defy explanation.  For example, we discovered a nice assemblage of Hellenistic pottery in a small and incredibly thorny bush!

PotBush2

PotBush1

We quickly determined that the result of some bizarre depositional process (perhaps involving looters or a massive collapse of a local cliff face) created a version of ceramicist hell.  Our ceramicist, Scott Moore, had to sacrifice flesh to these thorny guardians to get his hands on these well-preserved sherds.  At least one sherd remains persistently out of reach leading to our ceramicist to repeatedly thrust his hand into the thicker bush to trying to extricate it!

For more on the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project see our sister blogs: Pyla-Koutsopetria Graduate Student Weblog, Pyla-Koutsopetria Undergraduate Perspectives, and Pyla-Koutsopetria Season Staff Blog.

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