English: cove; hole; hollow; rock shelter; rockhouse; rock-shelter; shelter
French: abri, abri sous roche, grotte
Spanish: abrigo roscoso, cova, cueva
German: Felsdachshutz, Höhle
Italian: riparo, grotta
Rockshelter. A natural cavity enclosed by one or more rock walls and an overhang that provides protection from the elements (wind, precipitation, sun, or a combination thereof).
Rockshelters are important settings for archaeological sites because they form in numerous ways and in a variety of bedrock types and landscapes. The same properties of rockshelters that provide protection to their human and animal inhabitants also contribute to the protection and preservation of archaeological deposits left within them.
Humans exploit rockshelters for a variety of reasons. Ethnographic studies have revealed many different human behaviors and spatial patterning of material remains within these sites. For example, Binford (1996) notes that...
William R. Farrand (1931–2011) laid the foundation to a comprehensive framework for the study of rockshelter sequences and, in doing so, influenced and motivated a generation of geoarchaeologists, including the author, whose work here depends greatly on his research.
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