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ARC4PRA Essay: Ploughzone Archaeology: Its reliability in explaining past cultural landscape use

by Caroline Seawright
Honours Essay for Practical Archaeology at LaTrobe University, Dec 2015.


Ploughzone archaeology occurs where stratigraphy has been disturbed by agricultural methods such as tillage. Such sites might have their contexts fully or partially disturbed, making it difficult to extricate useful data about the past from the archaeological record (Binford 1981, p. 205; Orton 2000, p. 58; Plog, Plog & Wait 1981, pp. 639-640). Until the 1960s, ploughsoil was routinely removed to reach the sub-surface stratigraphy below (Roper 1976, p. 372; Talmage & Chesler 1977, p. 3). The sub-discipline of ploughzone archaeology developed to investigate the relationship between ploughzone artefacts and past cultural landscape use. Today, policies towards this necessary sub-discipline differ as experimentation and research continue. Different aspects of the research focus on artefact distribution and patterning, affected by both size and tillage damage, including the use of computer simulations. Adequate methodological control can reveal patterns applicable to regional studies across the landscape.

The Reliability of Ploughzone Archaeology

Seawright, C , Ploughzone Archaeology: Its reliability in explaining past cultural landscape use, Articles by Caroline Seawright, < kunoichi/themestream/ ARC4PRA.html>.

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