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Archaeological horizon

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Title: Archaeological horizon  
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Subject: First Temperate Neolithic, Infobox archaeological culture, Infobox archaeological culture/doc, Linear Pottery culture, Archaeological phase
Collection: Methods and Principles in Archaeology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Archaeological horizon

An archaeological horizon is a widely disseminated level of common art and artifacts at an archaeological site or, more usually, over a larger geographic area. It is a distinctive level in that site's or area's archaeological sequence.[1][2]

An example of an archaeological horizon is the Dark Earth horizon in England, which separates Roman artifacts from medieval artefacts and which may indicate the abandonment of urban areas in Roman Britain during the 2nd to 5th centuries. The term is especially used in the archaeology of Pre-Columbian America.

The term is used to denote a series of stratigraphic relationships that form an archaeological phase, or are part of the process of determining the archaeological phases of a site. An archaeological horizon can be understood as a break in contexts formed in the Harris matrix, which denotes a change in epoch on a given site by delineation in time of finds found within contexts.

The term 'Archaeological horizon' is sometimes, and somewhat incorrectly, used in place of the term layer or strata.


  1. ^ Pool, p. 181.
  2. ^ Anthony, p. 131.


  • Pool, Christopher A. (2007). Olmec Archaeology and Early Mesoamerica. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  
  • David W. Anthony (2007). "How to Reconstruct a Dead Culture". The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World. Princeton University Press. pp. 131–.  

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