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Re: [ANE-2] re: definition of "stratum"

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  • 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 1 of 8 , Aug 6, 2009
      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 2 of 8 , Aug 6, 2009
        --- 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 3 of 8 , Aug 6, 2009
          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 4 of 8 , Aug 7, 2009
            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



















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