Archaeologists ask questions about the technology and culture of people, past and present, to better understand changes in human adaptation and lifestyles across time and space. And yet, archaeological observations wrestle with geological problems. People leave traces of their passage on and in landforms shaped by natural processes–the dynamic landscape influences and alters people’s behavior and continues to alter and mask the materials and patterns left behind. We must understand these processes, along with the climatic and environmental conditions driving them, before we can find answers in the sample of artifacts and features we are fortunate to encounter and document.
This is the realm and discipline of geoarchaeology–using geological methods to document and evaluate the landform processes that influence archaeological site formation, alteration, preservation, and discovery. My goal, through photography, blogging, and occasional short videos, is to provide some background and simple tutorials on geoarchaeological methods, landform descriptions, and general case studies.
I have had the good fortune of a long geoarchaeological journey in the Great Basin and beyond. It is time to expand on that journey, encouraging everyone to share in the wonder and respect for the people, places, and processes of Earth’s natural landscape.