Ploughzone Archaeology in Historical Archaeology

Authored by: Alasdair Brooks

Handbook of Landscape Archaeology

Print publication date:  December  2008
Online publication date:  June  2016

Print ISBN: 9781598742947
eBook ISBN: 9781315427737
Adobe ISBN: 9781315427720


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Ploughzone (also plowzone/plow zone in North American usage) refers to the portion of a site disturbed by post-occupation ploughing or other agricultural activity (such as cattle grazing). In the past, and in some rare cases also in the present, archaeologists often treated the agriculture-related surface sediments of a site as “disturbed,” thereby either discarding or not analyzing in any meaningful way those surface contexts. Over the last 30 to 40 years, however, a broad literature on the importance of ploughzone archaeology has emerged, conclusively demonstrating the research value of these upper, disturbed stratigraphic levels.

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