While investigating prehistoric coastal exploitation on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, between 1964 and 1967, William A. Ritchie (1980) encountered shell middens that resulted from long sequences of episodic occupation and that, therefore, had complex stratification. In excavating them, he developed methodology that involved opening groups of contiguous pits (sections) separated by balks to preserve evidence of stratigraphy for later recording. Because stratification of these sites was complex and finely structured, arbitrary levels were not used.


Stratigraphic Section Fish Bone Faunal Remains Shell Midden Beach Gravel 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1995

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