The stratigraphic excavation process aims in the unearthing of the deposits and such special surfaces, to deduce their sequential order of creation and deposition. Therefore the archaeologist has to observe and document their stratigraphic relations. These relations are based upon topological observations of the distinct units of stratification during the excavation process.
Any two units of stratification A and B can have the following two stratigraphic relations:
- They are in superposition, i.e A is above or below B
- They are not in superposition, i.e A is stratigraphically not related to B
- There are no other valid stratigraphic relations
The stratigraphic relations can be deduced as well from a topological analysis of a complete 3D topographical record of these units. If documented, such a complete record provides the possibility for a verification of the stratigraphic sequence or Harris Matrix .