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re: definition of "stratum"

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  • arenmaeir
    Not wanting to get into the current discussion about Persia, etc., but nevertheless would like to note something important: The definition of stratum that
    Message 1 of 8 , Aug 5, 2009
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      Not wanting to get into the current discussion about Persia, etc., but nevertheless would like to note something important:

      The definition of "stratum" that appeared before is wrong.

      Here is what was written: "A stratum is first of all a DESTRUCTION LAYER. Archaeologists dig through debris until they get to a floor. The debris between one floor and the next is a stratum"

      This is a misunderstanding of stratigraphy! A stratum is just what the words hints to, that is a signficantly noticable "level" of more or less contemporary activity at a site. This can be a destruction level, but it can also be a level that was formed thru the ongoing, peaceful activity at a site. The definition of a stratum does not have to be debris on a floor, it can also relate to other stratigraphically noticable features.

      Just my two bits...

      Aren Maeir
    • Lisbeth S. Fried
      Hi Aren, Yes, my definition required “nuancing.” How about “without a destruction layer it is difficult to detect changes in a population”? Liz Fried
      Message 2 of 8 , Aug 6, 2009
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        Hi Aren,

        Yes, my definition required “nuancing.” How about “without a destruction
        layer it is difficult to detect changes in a population”?

        Liz Fried

        Ann Arbor/currently in Jerusalem!



        _____

        From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
        arenmaeir
        Sent: Thursday, August 06, 2009 6:20 AM
        To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [ANE-2] re: definition of "stratum"





        Not wanting to get into the current discussion about Persia, etc., but
        nevertheless would like to note something important:

        The definition of "stratum" that appeared before is wrong.

        Here is what was written: "A stratum is first of all a DESTRUCTION LAYER.
        Archaeologists dig through debris until they get to a floor. The debris
        between one floor and the next is a stratum"

        This is a misunderstanding of stratigraphy! A stratum is just what the words
        hints to, that is a signficantly noticable "level" of more or less
        contemporary activity at a site. This can be a destruction level, but it can
        also be a level that was formed thru the ongoing, peaceful activity at a
        site. The definition of a stratum does not have to be debris on a floor, it
        can also relate to other stratigraphically noticable features.

        Just my two bits...

        Aren Maeir





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Niels Peter Lemche
        Why do you need a destruction to detect a shift of population? You need more, such as a major change of the site, following different plans, layouts, and a lot
        Message 3 of 8 , Aug 6, 2009
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          Why do you need a destruction to detect a shift of population? You need more, such as a major change of the site, following different plans, layouts, and a lot more. However, if you dig in Copenhagen, you will have three destructions layers between 1730 and 1810: In the first half of the 18th century, a quarter of the city burned because some children were playing with matches; in the second half another quarter burned, and in 1807 the British reduced another quarter of the city to rubbles. But certainly no change of population! There were also three succeeding royal palaces on the same spot, with totally different layouts. The third is still there -- now the parliament. And it is still more or less the same royal family (well, cousins to the former line).

          Of cause all of this is based on excellent written sources, something an NE archaeologist can not always hope for.

          Niels Peter Lemche



          -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
          Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af Lisbeth S. Fried
          Sendt: den 6 augusti 2009 09:18
          Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
          Emne: RE: [ANE-2] re: definition of "stratum"

          Hi Aren,

          Yes, my definition required "nuancing." How about "without a destruction
          layer it is difficult to detect changes in a population"?

          Liz Fried

          Ann Arbor/currently in Jerusalem!



          _____

          From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
          arenmaeir
          Sent: Thursday, August 06, 2009 6:20 AM
          To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [ANE-2] re: definition of "stratum"





          Not wanting to get into the current discussion about Persia, etc., but
          nevertheless would like to note something important:

          The definition of "stratum" that appeared before is wrong.

          Here is what was written: "A stratum is first of all a DESTRUCTION LAYER.
          Archaeologists dig through debris until they get to a floor. The debris
          between one floor and the next is a stratum"

          This is a misunderstanding of stratigraphy! A stratum is just what the words
          hints to, that is a signficantly noticable "level" of more or less
          contemporary activity at a site. This can be a destruction level, but it can
          also be a level that was formed thru the ongoing, peaceful activity at a
          site. The definition of a stratum does not have to be debris on a floor, it
          can also relate to other stratigraphically noticable features.

          Just my two bits...

          Aren Maeir





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



          ------------------------------------

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        • David Hall
          At Tel Rehov south of Beth Shean there was a stratum where some of the houses were burnt and some were not.  Recently this layer was dated to about 917
          Message 4 of 8 , Aug 6, 2009
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            At Tel Rehov south of Beth Shean there was a stratum where some of the houses were burnt and some were not.  Recently this layer was dated to about 917 B.C. after calibrated C-14 dating.  It was not for sure whether this was a destruction layer from conquest or an accidental fire jumping from house to house in one part of the city.  There are historical records of city fires such as the fire in Rome during the time of Nero.  The C-14 readings may have been calibrated with "known" strata or the contents of tombs dated by scarabs, thus they may be subject to change.  C-14 levels in the atmosphere seem to change frequently and may not be constant over wide regions.  The strata at Tel Rehov were deemed less chaotic than the strata at Megiddo.  

            David Q. Hall

             

            ________________________________
            From: arenmaeir <maeira@...>
            To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Wednesday, August 5, 2009 11:20:15 PM
            Subject: [ANE-2] re: definition of "stratum"

             
            Not wanting to get into the current discussion about Persia, etc., but nevertheless would like to note something important:

            The definition of "stratum" that appeared before is wrong.

            Here is what was written: "A stratum is first of all a DESTRUCTION LAYER. Archaeologists dig through debris until they get to a floor. The debris between one floor and the next is a stratum"

            This is a misunderstanding of stratigraphy! A stratum is just what the words hints to, that is a signficantly noticable "level" of more or less contemporary activity at a site. This can be a destruction level, but it can also be a level that was formed thru the ongoing, peaceful activity at a site. The definition of a stratum does not have to be debris on a floor, it can also relate to other stratigraphically noticable features.

            Just my two bits...

            Aren Maeir







            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Jack Kilmon
            Whether geological or archaeological, a stratum is a layer that defines occupation, whether by certain species of trilobites or Edomites. It can be either
            Message 5 of 8 , Aug 6, 2009
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              Whether geological or archaeological, a stratum is a layer that defines
              occupation, whether by certain species of trilobites or Edomites. It can be
              either upper Ordovician or Iron Ia. A destruction layer is not critical for
              dating and hearth carbon is more accurate than ashes from architecture that
              may be several hundred years older than the occupation. Ceramics, epigraphy
              and the artifacts of every day life are the "fossils" of archaeological
              strata.

              Jack Kilmon

              --------------------------------------------------
              From: "David Hall" <dqhall59@...>
              Sent: Thursday, August 06, 2009 5:38 AM
              To: <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
              Subject: Re: [ANE-2] re: definition of "stratum"

              > At Tel Rehov south of Beth Shean there was a stratum where some of the
              > houses were burnt and some were not. Recently this layer was dated to
              > about 917 B.C. after calibrated C-14 dating. It was not for sure whether
              > this was a destruction layer from conquest or an accidental fire jumping
              > from house to house in one part of the city. There are historical records
              > of city fires such as the fire in Rome during the time of Nero. The C-14
              > readings may have been calibrated with "known" strata or the contents of
              > tombs dated by scarabs, thus they may be subject to change. C-14 levels
              > in the atmosphere seem to change frequently and may not be constant over
              > wide regions. The strata at Tel Rehov were deemed less chaotic than the
              > strata at Megiddo.
              >
              > David Q. Hall
              >
              >
              >
              > ________________________________
              > From: arenmaeir <maeira@...>
              > To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
              > Sent: Wednesday, August 5, 2009 11:20:15 PM
              > Subject: [ANE-2] re: definition of "stratum"
              >
              >
              > Not wanting to get into the current discussion about Persia, etc., but
              > nevertheless would like to note something important:
              >
              > The definition of "stratum" that appeared before is wrong.
              >
              > Here is what was written: "A stratum is first of all a DESTRUCTION LAYER.
              > Archaeologists dig through debris until they get to a floor. The debris
              > between one floor and the next is a stratum"
              >
              > This is a misunderstanding of stratigraphy! A stratum is just what the
              > words hints to, that is a signficantly noticable "level" of more or less
              > contemporary activity at a site. This can be a destruction level, but it
              > can also be a level that was formed thru the ongoing, peaceful activity at
              > a site. The definition of a stratum does not have to be debris on a floor,
              > it can also relate to other stratigraphically noticable features.
              >
              > Just my two bits...
              >
              > Aren Maeir
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >



              >
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              >
            • Björn Lindborg
              ... In spite of the number of posts on the stratum issue, I m confident we may agree on some basic facts. [Aren Maeir:] This can be a destruction level, but
              Message 6 of 8 , Aug 6, 2009
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                --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "Jack Kilmon" <jkilmon@...> wrote:
                >
                > Whether geological or archaeological, a stratum is a layer that
                > defines occupation, whether by certain species of trilobites or
                > Edomites. It can be either upper Ordovician or Iron Ia.
                > A destruction layer is not critical for dating and hearth carbon
                > is more accurate than ashes from architecture that may be several
                > hundred years older than the occupation. Ceramics, epigraphy and
                > the artifacts of every day life are the "fossils" of archaeological
                > strata.


                In spite of the number of posts on the 'stratum' issue, I'm confident
                we may agree on some basic facts.

                [Aren Maeir:] This can be a destruction level, but it can also be a
                level that was formed thru the ongoing, peaceful activity at a site.
                The definition of a stratum does not have to be debris on a floor,
                it can also relate to other stratigraphically noticable features.


                [BL:] A stratum is a layer, yes, but it is often more easy to
                define in time if it ends with a destruction, which may be a
                << destruction layer from conquest or an accidental fire jumping
                from house to house in one part of the city. >> (David Hall)

                In such a destruction layer,
                << ceramics, epigraphy and the artifacts of every day life >>
                are then mostly rather close in time to the destruction date.
                Correct so far?

                In contrast, if 'good times' prevail, without disastrous events, then
                buildings etc. are repaired or replaced when needed, so the different
                strata will be more fluid and maybe ill-defined in time. This is one
                reason why the archaeology may be difficult in e.g. Neo-Assyria, the
                kingdom of Manasse, or large parts of the Persian Empire.

                If we try to identify e.g. the stratum/strata in London associated
                with the British colonial Empire, we would of course find no such
                defined thing, because many buildings from even before that period
                are still standing today. We could possibly hope to find stratified
                remains in some small parts of the city, like NPL's examples from
                Copenhagen.

                The second half of my post (in the "Persia, Egypt, Babylon" thread)
                just emphasised the obvious fact that we should not turn to reduced
                chronologies whenever such ill-defined strata occur. We certainly
                agree on that.


                Björn Lindborg
              • David Hall
                One archaeologist working in Babylonia reported the sad state of a mudbrick town after a torrential downpour.  Some of the walls of buildings collapsed in
                Message 7 of 8 , Aug 6, 2009
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                  One archaeologist working in Babylonia reported the sad state of a mudbrick town after a torrential downpour.  Some of the walls of buildings collapsed in their weakened state.  Sometimes these were repaired, other times the house was torn down, the soil tamped, and then a new house built on top of the old one. 

                  At Jericho Kenyon found one mudbrick wall in a jumbled state resembling an unconsolidated pile of bricks.  One of her workmen told her this happened during an earthquake.  There were periodiodic earthquakes along the Jordan Valley rift zone. 

                  David Q. Hall



                  ________________________________
                  From: Björn Lindborg <bjorn07se@...>
                  To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Thursday, August 6, 2009 11:30:54 AM
                  Subject: [ANE-2] Re: definition of "stratum"

                   
                  --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups. com, "Jack Kilmon" <jkilmon@... > wrote:
                  >
                  > Whether geological or archaeological, a stratum is a layer that
                  > defines occupation, whether by certain species of trilobites or
                  > Edomites. It can be either upper Ordovician or Iron Ia.
                  > A destruction layer is not critical for dating and hearth carbon
                  > is more accurate than ashes from architecture that may be several
                  > hundred years older than the occupation. Ceramics, epigraphy and
                  > the artifacts of every day life are the "fossils" of archaeological
                  > strata.

                  In spite of the number of posts on the 'stratum' issue, I'm confident
                  we may agree on some basic facts.

                  [Aren Maeir:] This can be a destruction level, but it can also be a
                  level that was formed thru the ongoing, peaceful activity at a site.
                  The definition of a stratum does not have to be debris on a floor,
                  it can also relate to other stratigraphically noticable features.

                  [BL:] A stratum is a layer, yes, but it is often more easy to
                  define in time if it ends with a destruction, which may be a
                  << destruction layer from conquest or an accidental fire jumping
                  from house to house in one part of the city. >> (David Hall)

                  In such a destruction layer,
                  << ceramics, epigraphy and the artifacts of every day life >>
                  are then mostly rather close in time to the destruction date.
                  Correct so far?

                  In contrast, if 'good times' prevail, without disastrous events, then
                  buildings etc. are repaired or replaced when needed, so the different
                  strata will be more fluid and maybe ill-defined in time. This is one
                  reason why the archaeology may be difficult in e.g. Neo-Assyria, the
                  kingdom of Manasse, or large parts of the Persian Empire.

                  If we try to identify e.g. the stratum/strata in London associated
                  with the British colonial Empire, we would of course find no such
                  defined thing, because many buildings from even before that period
                  are still standing today. We could possibly hope to find stratified
                  remains in some small parts of the city, like NPL's examples from
                  Copenhagen.

                  The second half of my post (in the "Persia, Egypt, Babylon" thread)
                  just emphasised the obvious fact that we should not turn to reduced
                  chronologies whenever such ill-defined strata occur. We certainly
                  agree on that.

                  Björn Lindborg







                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • eliot braun
                  A layer or stratum is just that, it may or may define occupation, or non-occupation such as a layer of sterile (I.e., devoid of artifacts) sand, for
                  Message 8 of 8 , Aug 7, 2009
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                    A layer or stratum is just that, it may or may define occupation, or non-occupation such as a layer of "sterile" (I.e., devoid of artifacts) sand, for instance. It is usually considered to be a stratum if it is a contiguous deposit of related materials covering a significant portion of something and which has some internal coherence  but that could mean anything. For instance, at Gezer there is a stratum of Macalister dump, which includes all the mixture of his backfill. In short, in the world of archaeology, a stratum, layer, or whatever, is as defined by the person who perceives it and relays that perception to others.
                     


                    Eliot Braun, Ph D
                    Sr. Fellow WF Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem
                    Associate Researcher Centre de Recherche Français de Jérusalem
                    PO Box 21, Har Adar 90836 Israel
                    Tel 972-2-5345687, Cell 972-50-2231096

                    --- On Thu, 8/6/09, Björn Lindborg <bjorn07se@...> wrote:


                    From: Björn Lindborg <bjorn07se@...>
                    Subject: [ANE-2] Re: definition of "stratum"
                    To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Thursday, August 6, 2009, 6:30 PM


                     



                    --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups. com, "Jack Kilmon" <jkilmon@... > wrote:
                    >
                    > Whether geological or archaeological, a stratum is a layer that
                    > defines occupation, whether by certain species of trilobites or
                    > Edomites. It can be either upper Ordovician or Iron Ia.
                    > A destruction layer is not critical for dating and hearth carbon
                    > is more accurate than ashes from architecture that may be several
                    > hundred years older than the occupation. Ceramics, epigraphy and
                    > the artifacts of every day life are the "fossils" of archaeological
                    > strata.

                    In spite of the number of posts on the 'stratum' issue, I'm confident
                    we may agree on some basic facts.

                    [Aren Maeir:] This can be a destruction level, but it can also be a
                    level that was formed thru the ongoing, peaceful activity at a site.
                    The definition of a stratum does not have to be debris on a floor,
                    it can also relate to other stratigraphically noticable features.

                    [BL:] A stratum is a layer, yes, but it is often more easy to
                    define in time if it ends with a destruction, which may be a
                    << destruction layer from conquest or an accidental fire jumping
                    from house to house in one part of the city. >> (David Hall)

                    In such a destruction layer,
                    << ceramics, epigraphy and the artifacts of every day life >>
                    are then mostly rather close in time to the destruction date.
                    Correct so far?

                    In contrast, if 'good times' prevail, without disastrous events, then
                    buildings etc. are repaired or replaced when needed, so the different
                    strata will be more fluid and maybe ill-defined in time. This is one
                    reason why the archaeology may be difficult in e.g. Neo-Assyria, the
                    kingdom of Manasse, or large parts of the Persian Empire.

                    If we try to identify e.g. the stratum/strata in London associated
                    with the British colonial Empire, we would of course find no such
                    defined thing, because many buildings from even before that period
                    are still standing today. We could possibly hope to find stratified
                    remains in some small parts of the city, like NPL's examples from
                    Copenhagen.

                    The second half of my post (in the "Persia, Egypt, Babylon" thread)
                    just emphasised the obvious fact that we should not turn to reduced
                    chronologies whenever such ill-defined strata occur. We certainly
                    agree on that.

                    Björn Lindborg



















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