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Re: definition of "stratum"

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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 1 of 8 , Aug 6 8:30 AM
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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 2 of 8 , Aug 6 10:22 AM
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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 3 of 8 , Aug 7 6:02 AM
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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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