Basics - Units of Stratification

As Harris points out, every unit of stratification is formed by material and immaterial aspects that have to be found and recorded by the excavating archaeologist. The material aspects are the single deposits , the immaterial aspects are single surfaces as the bounding surfaces of single deposits and surfaces in their own right as the surfaces of pits, ditches, walls also known as feature interfaces.

In the first instance these two aspects are the main objects to be recorded on a stratigraphic excavation. Any finds, samples, plans or other information and observations stored in databases have to be related to the single deposits and single surfaces, i.e. the single units of stratification. Therefore they become a unique number or identifier which they inherit to finds, plans, datasets etc.. Considering the stratigraphical relations of the single units of stratification their relative temporal succession can be displayed by the means of a Harris Matrix .