Monday, September 24, 2012

0111 - Re-excavating ditches

Sections of the outside ditch at Bela Vista 5:a previous layer was excavated in the centre and after refilled with other deposits.

This is, in a certain way, another version of overlapped ditches problem. In fact, it is frequent to record evidences of ditches that were reopened, by the re-excavation of part of its previous fillings. It is important to notice that only when the reopening is partial is it
detectable by archaeology. The total remove of previous filling deposits leaves no evidence, and if they occurred, then these activities would have been even more common.
This creates problems to ditch dating, because there might be a significant time between the initial excavation of a ditch and its last filling sequence. Only with several sections and good dating sequences we can evaluate these problems.

But another problem is why they reopened some ditches? And why frequently just a central part of the ditch, leaving a ditch with “walls of sediment”? Is it because they want to rapidly fill it again with new deposits and materials? They must have done so, otherwise those “walls of sediment” would have been eroded (and we can clearly see them in some sections, like the one presented here).

This kind of stratigraphic sequences points to human intentionality in the formation of the deposits inside ditches, not just because of the materials or the structured organization they might present. The structure of the deposits itself may be an argument to that intentionality.


  1. I have been searching for hours and I haven’t found such awesome work.

  2. It was presented in a conference last week, but still not published.But you have more information in other post of the blog, like the sections drawings.