Deposit modeling for archaeological projects: Methods, practice and future developments

Christopher Carey, Andy Howard, Jane Corcoran, David Knight, Jen Heathcote

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper considers the application of deposit modeling within archaeological projects, summarizing the results of a Historic England funded project aimed at developing “good practice” for the application of these techniques within terrestrial environments. It provides an overview of what deposit modeling is, the environments where it can be used and the methods most commonly used. The paper identifies a series of issues and challenges in using deposit models within archaeological investigations, such as the archiving of geotechnical data, the testing of deposit models against the distribution of archaeological sites and features, and integrating sediment stratigraphies derived from deposit modeling with post-excavation records. We argue that deposit modeling is a valuable tool for archeologists to employ and can be used to design appropriate excavation strategies to target sites and features, thereby increasing the information yield of a project. In this sense deposit modeling can be used as a framework for archaeological projects that are investigating sediment sequences in complex geomorphological environments, starting with pre-evaluation data gathering, through to focusing excavation strategies, and within the post-excavation analysis. Whilst this paper is focused upon the terrestrial archaeological record, the themes discussed have resonance for archaeological records across the globe, including the offshore zone.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)495-505
    Number of pages11
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2018

    Bibliographical note

    This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Carey C, Howard AJ, Corcoran J, Knight D, Heathcote J. Deposit modeling for archaeological projects: Methods, practice, and future developments. Geoarchaeology. 2018;1–11, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.


    • deposit modeling
    • geoarchaeology
    • sediment stratigraphy
    • archaeological mitigation


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