Geoarchaeological Analysis

Geoarchaeological studies assist with the interpretation of the natural and cultural history of an archaeological site. Through the analysis of the physical and chemical components of the sediments and soils, collectively referred to as the site matrix, the geomorphological, pedological, and post-depositional processes can be identified and the environment reconstructed. Targeted analyses are used to address a range of archaeological questions from delineating human activity areas, to assessing the nature of soils and likelihood of artifact recovery, to affirming or refuting excavation assessments pertaining to the site in question.

Atlatl offers a range of geoarchaeological analysis, depending on the nature of the site, the research questions being asked, and discussions with our client. The analyses can include all or a selection of:

  • Munsell Color
  • Organic Matter Content
  • Particle Size
  • Sediment Texture
  • Matrix Sorting
  • pH
  • Electrical Conductivity
  • Carbonate Content
  • Carbon Ash Identification

In addition, field observations, topography, soil characteristics, and vegetation information can be incorporated into an interpretive geoarchaeological report. Though rigorous analyses in a laboratory-controlled environment provides more explicit results, field assessments provide a means to document the excavator’s primary classification of the matrix. Subtleties detected in the field may not materialize in the laboratory, but systematic laboratory procedures can eliminate field errors and correct misidentified context.


Sample ProcessingCosts Per Sample (CAD)
Comprehensive Analysis Package* (Includes Munsell, Organic Matter, Particle Size, Sorting, Texture, pH, Electrical Conductivity, Carbonate Content)$450
Munsell Color$10
Organic Matter Content$150
Particle Size, Sorting, and Texture$300
Electrical Conductivity$30
Carbonate Content$75
Carbon Ash Identification$200
Analysis and ReportingCosts Per Project (CAD)
Report Writing$1000 (20 hours) –
$2000 (40 hours)
Lab Supplies$50 (1 – 5 samples) $100 (6 – 20 samples) $200 (21 – 50 samples[1])
Return Shipping (if desired)TBD

[1] Custom pricing may be necessary for projects over 50 samples.