Encyclopedia of Geoarchaeology

2017 Edition
| Editors: Allan S. Gilbert

Soil Geomorphology

  • Vance T. HollidayEmail author
  • Rolfe D. Mandel
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4409-0_175


Few aspects of the environment are as intimately linked to the landscape as are soils, and this linkage emphasizes the important role of soils in geoarchaeology. At its most fundamental level, soil geomorphology is the study of genetic relationships between soils and landscapes (e.g., Ruhe, 1956; Ruhe, 1965; Schaetzl and Anderson, 2005). Its focus is on pedogenic and geomorphic processes and sometimes a strong component of hydrology in order to understand the distribution of soils in the present (contemporary soil geography) and in the past. In a much broader sense, however, soil geomorphology includes the investigation of soils as a means of studying and reconstructing the past, with a focus on soils as (1) clues to past environments (especially vegetation and climate) and past landscapes (Gerrard, 1992; Birkeland, 1999; Schaetzl and Anderson, 2005), (2) age indicators, and (3) stratigraphic markers (see the entry on “ Soil Stratigraphy” in this volume). The focus here...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anthropology and Departments GeosciencesUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA