• Archaeological strata refer to the accumulation of natural and cultural debris in
• Laws of Stratigraphy:
Superposition: the deeper the layer = the older the layer
Original horizontality: disturbances in the layers. Layers are still
consecutive, but take a different shape due to possible geological
Lateral continuity: a dip in the top layers.
Cross-cutting: a hole that has been dug into the bottom layers from
the top layers, meaning that newer materials can be found lower
than older ones. Could be caused by natural processes such as
erosion, or man-made such as a hole being dug deep into the
ground by people.
• Unconformities represent periods of time where erosion or no deposition
• To confirm stones or bones from a particular strata are contemporaneous, effects
are made to reassemble/refit or to see if the individual pieces can be conjoined.
• The Harris Matrix relationships:
No direct stratigraphic connection
Approaches to Excavation
• Archaeological resources are non-renewable
• Permits and permission:
Ontario Heritage Act: It is illegal for anyone but a licensed archaeologist
to knowingly disturb an archaeological site.
Cemeteries Act: Prohibits disturbance of burial sites. Those who have
knowledge of a burial site must contact