Archaeologists read soil layers the way historians read pages of a book. We’re trained to read subtle differences in soil textures and colors to interpret past human activities. Picture a layer cake with different levels of cake and icing. Like the layers of a birthday cake, each soil level represents a different human activity or time period. As we dig deeper, we go further back in time.
Eventually, we reach a dense layer of clay called subsoil with no artifacts or evidence of human activity. We stop our excavations when we encounter subsoil. That might be anywhere from a few inches to dozens of feet below the surface (down a well shaft for example) depending on what we are excavating. Learn More