Context in Archaeology or “where did it come from?” is one of the most important questions archaeologists ask. One of the primary philosophies in archaeology is reconstructing daily life of human history and prehistory through material remains. Although one artifact can outline the potential age of a site and its trade relations between communities, it cannot tell you the bigger picture of how the object is understood and what it means to the daily life of the people unless you look at its association with the environment and other material remains that surround it.
So how do we look at context in archaeology? The stratigraphy (the layering of soils and remains) of a site and the objects within each layer are examined in order to understand the meaning of the object and its association to the site. Soil develops layers over time; therefore objects found in one layer are considered to be related and date to a similar time of use, while objects found in another layer, either above or below, are deposited at an alternate time and indicate a different period of use. Read more