In 2011, Metcalf Archaeological Consultants, Inc. (Metcalf) acquired LaRamie Soils Service (LRSS) and now provides geoarchaeological services under the new division. Our professional geoarchaeologists apply a variety of Earth Science methodologies (hence the "geo" moniker) to contribute to archaeological studies. Services include:
- Regional geoarchaeological assessments
- Paleoenvironmental modeling
- Absolute dating of geologic strata
- Analysis of sediments' ability to hold cultural materials in situ
- Analysis of human-site relationships
Our team members go well beyond simple geologic and soil mapping diagrams, with the ultimate goal of using geologic data to reveal the human-land relationships that shape the archaeological record. Essential to our approach are application and understanding of several disciplines including Quaternary geology (sedimentology and stratigraphy), geomorphology (terrain analysis and identification), pedology (soil forming environments and relative age dating), physical chemistry, archaeology and other related disciplines such as biology and paleontology.
We often conduct studies concurrently with archaeological investigations, starting with initial reconnaissance, moving to testing, and finally to mitigation. During the reconnaissance phase, we identify surface landforms with sediments likely to hold cultural materials. The testing phase includes identifying and mapping geologic deposits that make up landforms, as well as describing the soil-sediment characteristics. Landforms are dated and we assess the attractiveness of the landform to humans through time, as well as the likelihood of finding cultural materials in situ. Finally, during mitigation, we address questions related to depositional context, paleoenvironmental conditions, artifact integrity, site extent, and relative ages.
The final product is a valuable component of archaeological investigations, allowing a more comprehensive understanding of the site and how humans interacted with the land in the past.
For more information on our geoarchaeology services, please contact us.