Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 1998


Published in Great Plains Research Vol. 8 No. 2, 1998. Copyright ©1998 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Used by permission.


First published in 1992, this book-now in paper-presents the fundamentals of geoarchaeology, the field of study that applies the concepts and methods of the geosciences to archaeological research. Although a number of good books have been written about this subdiscipline of archaeology, Waters restricts his review to late Quaternary landscapes in North America. Furthermore, he limits his discussion to the field aspects of geoarchaeology. Stratigraphy, site formation processes, and landscape reconstruction are the centerpieces of this study. Readers looking for information about laboratory methods, dating techniques, or the application of geophysics and geochemistry to archaeology must go to other sources. Waters's topical, temporal, and geographical focus is, nonetheless, effective, allowing for detailed discussions of geoarchaeological concepts and field methods that are directly applicable to archaeological research in North America. A broader scope would have diluted his effort.