formation processes

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A term developed by Michael Schiffer in the early 1970s to describe the way in which archaeological deposits come about and change through time down to the point where they are excavated. Some understanding of this is critical to being able to understand and explain what is found during archaeological excavations. Schiffer identified two groups of formation processes. N‐transforms are caused by non‐cultural processes such as wind, water, rodent activity, and chemical action. By contrast C‐transforms are cultural transforms which are the links between what people do and what is left in the archaeological record. Both impact on structures, objects, their associated matrix, and their associations in predictable ways as they move from the past (systemic context) into the present (archaeological context).

Subjects: Archaeology.

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