Geoarchaeology: Why I’m All About that Dirt

By Jacob Hooge

Spring Lake excavation pit

Spring Lake Data Recovery excavation pit, 2014.

So, what is a geoarchaeologist, exactly? Most simply, a geoarchaeologist is someone who very much takes the importance of archaeological context to heart. Over the course of my archaeological career, I have come to view the study of and reverence for artifacts themselves as just a bit obsessive and sometimes unproductive—something akin to Gollum admiring his Precious alone in some deep, dark cave. While some archaeologists are probably now gasping, “Blasphemer! Artifacts are why we’re here!”, they will remember that they, too, preach the importance of context. With an ever-expanding world of contextual information available to the archaeologist, the fine details of the artifact itself begin to pale in comparison to what surrounds the artifact for potential to inform. And I just happen to be all about that dirt. Continue reading