Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Environmental Archaeological Evidence: Preservation

  • Matthew Canti
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_847


Evidence for the nature of past environments can take many forms and occur in many different situations. For archaeological timescales, such evidence is generally plant or animal material identified to some level (usually genus or species), and the environmental conditions suitable for a similar modern population are then assumed to have pertained at the time of preservation. As with any archaeological find, some form of dating or stratification is essential to provide a temporal context.

If one component of an assemblage is better preserved than another, a false picture could be built up of the past conditions. Awareness of the preservation trajectory since burial is, therefore, essential for an understanding of the material’s true environmental significance. This entry is intended to summarize the characteristics of the main materials used for environmental reconstruction as well as the burial environments in which they are preserved or destroyed.

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.English Heritage, Fort CumberlandEastneyUK