Laboratory for Sedimentary Archaeology

Group Head: Prof. Ruth Shahack-Gross
Department of Maritime Civilizations
Cell: +972-54-760-8637
Office: Multipurpose Bldg., Room 116

General Information

The group’s main research interest is in the field of “site formation processes” – studying the processes that shape archaeological sites and affect the interpretation of macroscopic and microscopic archaeological assemblages.

The group is called 'Sedimentary Archaeology' because of the similarity of the research we conduct to that conducted in the scientific field of sedimentary geology: We study anthropogenic and environmental aspects of erosion, deposition, degradation, pedogenesis, diagenesis and fossilization in archaeological sites. The group primarily studies occupation deposits, in their archaeological context, focusing on stratigraphy and micro-stratigraphy.

We address human-induced (anthropogenic) processes through ethnoarchaeological and geo-ethnoarchaeological research, and nature-induced (environmental) processes through laboratory analyses and experimentation.

We work in sites from a variety of time periods (prehistoric, historic and modern) and environmental settings (caves, flood plains, artificial mounds, coasts).


In terms of archaeological materials studied, we focus on the taphonomy and diagenesis of bones, herbivore dung, phytoliths, wood ash, mud bricks, and recently pottery and domestic trash (see list of publications).

Previous work of this research group focused on terrestrial archaeological sites. Formation processes related to coastal and submerged archaeological sites are less explored. One of the current goals of the research group is developing new understandings about formation of maritime coastal and underwater sites.


Tel Dor

Coastal and underwater excavation at Tel Dor, Israel (2017) conducted by the Department of Maritime Civilizations (co-directed by R. Shahack-Gross and A. Yasur-Landau, in collaboration with A. Gilboa, R. Martin and I. Sharon). Formation processes at the sea-coast interface are studied here, in the context of Iron Age I Phoenician occupation (image courtesy of A. Pesso).


© 2017 Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences. All Rights Reserved.

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