Earth Layers
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Above the archaeological field at Lachish illustrating balks and grid squares. A BIBARCH™ Photo.

The Wheeler–Kenyon Method (earth layers analysis) of excavation emphasizes the vertical dimension through analysis of earth layers, or strata, and their contents. Vertical control comes from the use of the balks separating grid squares. Horizontal control comes from keeping the working surface of the  square level for any given locus and proper three-dimensional recording.

The Wheeler–Kenyon method bares the name of the two archaeologists credited for developing it—Mortimer Wheeler and Kathleen Kenyon. The Albright–Wright Method (architectural approach) of excavation stresses the wide-scale exposure of complete architectural units.

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Three dimensional recording requires constant surveying. A BIBARCH™ Photo from the Tel Hazor Excavations in honor of Yigael Yadin.

The prevailing Levantine approach, with a focus on interpretation, not explanation, emphasizes a combination of the earth layers analysis and the architectural approach wherein excavations proceed through earth layers analysis including the exposure of complete architectural units (through grid squares and balks.

This approach supports both processual scientific) and postprocessual (postmodern) archaeological research although the latter prevails in contemporary Levantine sites. A criticism of the approach consists of the problem that exposure of complete units does not leave the opportunity for re-excavation with improved techniques by subsequent generations.


Page last edited: 01/25/06 07:22 PM


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