The group’s main research interest is in the field of “site formation processes” – studying the processes that shape archaeological sites and greatly affect archaeological interpretation. These processes are studied on two broad levels, human-induced processes and nature-induced processes. Combined, the variety of processes and their relationship with environmental factors are responsible for the diversity of archaeological sites. Thus the mere presence/absence of certain materials in archaeological sites is not enough to understand how they formed, and all cultural and natural processes must be considered to reach more accurate interpretations of the archaeological record.
While the cultural formation processes may include addition of materials into a site as it builds up and deletion of materials as they are taken away by people when a site is abandoned, natural processes may include bio-geo-chemical processes of both addition and deletion of materials through processes of deposition, degradation and dissolution. Thus, the study of archaeological site formation includes aspects of depositional, taphonomic and diagenetic processes that result in buildup of complex stratigraphic sequences. In this sense, studying archaeological site formation is not different from the scientific field of sedimentary geology, and thus the general scope of our research group is 'Sedimentary Archaeology'.
Previous work of this research group focused on terrestrial archaeological sites, unravelling mechanisms of material culture accumulation, degradation and diagenesis (see list of publications). Formation processes related to coastal and submerged archaeological sites are much less known or understood. One of the goals of the research group is developing new understandings about formation of such marine and lacustrine sites, while continuing research in terrestrial environments. The group's research is not limited to time periods or geographical location.
To study site formation processes requires understanding of both cultural and natural processes. In terrestrial and coastal sites this is achieved by utilizing the following research methods:
Methods for underwater sampling will be developed.
Analytical methods available in the laboratory for sedimentary archaeology:
Most students in the group use more than one technique, as the techniques mentioned above are complimentary and allow better interpretation via several lines of investigation.
Paula Waiman-Barak (Lab. Manager)
Dr. Arnald Puy (Post-doc; 2015- )
Dr. Don Butler (Post-doc; 2015- )
Zachary Dunseth (MA, PhD; 2012- )
Igor Kreimerman (PhD; 2014- )
Nadav Nir (MA; 2013- )
Amanda Holdeman (MA; 2014- )
Isaac Ogloblin (MA; 2014- )
Andrew Baronet (MA; 2014- )
Mor Gafri (MA; 2006-2008)
Sivan Einhorn (MA; 2009-2011)
Dr. Dan Cabanes (Post-doc; 2009-2011)
Dr. Lior Regev (Post-doc; 2011-2012)
David Friesem (MA and PhD; 2008-2014)
Shira Gur-Arieh (PhD; 2008-2015)
Dr. Mathilde Forget (Post-doc; 2013-2015)
Shahack-Gross, R. and Finkelstein, I. (2015). The Settlement Oscillations in the Negev Highlands Revisited: The Impact of Micro-archaeological Methods. Radiocarbon 57: 253-264. doi: 10.2458/azu_rc.57.185614. **A review article**
Cabanes, D. and Shahack-Gross, R. (2015). Understanding fossil phytolith preservation: the role of partial dissolution in paleoecology and archaeology. PLoS ONE 10(5): e0125532. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0125532
Forget, M., Regev, L., Friesem, D. and Shahack-Gross, R. 2015. Physical and mineralogical properties of experimentally heated sun-dried mud bricks: Implications for reconstruction of environmental factors influencing the appearance of mud bricks in archaeological conflagration events. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 2: 80-93.