Basics - Harris Matrix

A stratigraphic sequence or Harris Matrix is the fundamental diagrammatic representation of time for an archaeological site . It displays all uniquely numbered units of stratification in a sequential diagram, which represents their temporal succession. It provides the relative calendar which is the testing pattern for any further analysis. Its creation is based upon topological observations during the stratigraphic excavation process to deduce the stratigraphic relations . The creation of a Harris Matrix does not consider any temporal relations that might be deduced from related finds in the subsequent analysis. They are used in the later grouping process of phasing or periodisation by summarizing single units of stratification due to structural relations or temporal relations .

The stratigraphic relations can be deduced as well from a topological analysis of a complete 3D topographical record of the respective units. If documented, such a complete record provides the possibility for a verification of the stratigraphic sequence.