About The Book

Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy

Following the invention of the Harris Matrix in February 1973, Dr. Edward Harris was able to make “The Notion of Stratigraphy and its Application in Archaeology” the subject of a doctoral thesis at University College London between 1976 and 1978. The thesis was then reformatted and published in late 1979 as the seminal work, Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy, by Academic Press. A second edition was produced in 1989, but the book was very expensive, so in 2004, Dr. Harris bought out the publisher and the remainder of the books. Several years later, Dr. Harris launched this site to make the book available as a free download for archaeologists and anyone interested in learning about the Harris Matrix.

Archaeology’s Premier Stratigraphy System

Dr. Harris was the first to investigate the principles of stratigraphy in archaeology. Since the first publishing of the Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy, the book has been the industry standard for this discipline. The book introduced archaeologists to the only way of seeing stratigraphic sequences, which is now commonly called a ‘Harris Matrix’ or ‘Harris Matrices’ on archaeological sites. The book also introduced the indispensable concept of ‘single-surface planning’. Without single-surface planning and the recording of the individual surfaces, a site cannot be reconstructed after its destruction by an archaeological excavation.

Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy demonstrates the making of stratigraphic sequences or Harris Matrices, as well as expounding on the history of stratigraphy in archaeology, the methods of recording stratification, and the relation of artifacts to the stratigraphic sequence.

This section has been divided into groups of strata and surfaces, which comprise the periods of the section. Those periods are reflected in the stratigraphic sequence on the right, the uneven numbers represent periods of deposition or growth, while the even numbers are for those of periods of use, represented by the composite surface.

Available in Seven Languages

Since 1979, Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Polish, Japanese, Slovene, German, Hungarian and Czech. Chinese, Arabic and French translations are in progress and may eventually be available as a free download from this website.

English

Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy
by Dr. Edward C. Harris

40 figs. 1 pl. 136 pp. London & New York: Academic Press.
Second edition 1989.

Czech

Principy archeologické stratigrafie
by Dr. Edward C. Harris 1989 (translated by Jozef Chajbullin Koštial).

Jozef was educated at the Universities of Nitra, Ljubljana and Prague. Previously he was at the Archaeological Institute of the Academy of Sciences in Prague, but now works for Archaeconsult, Ltd., particularly in archaeological software development.

German

Grundlagen der archäologischen Stratigraphie
by Dr. Edward C. Harris 2011 (translated by Katja Kliemann and Geoffrey Carver).

Katja Kliemann and Geoffrey Carver translated Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy for the German edition and hold the copyright to that edition, but have kindly agreed to allow for the free downloading of the book on Harrismatrix.com.

Hungarian

A régészeti rétegtan alapelvei
by Dr. Edward C. Harris Budapest. Második kiadás 2010 (translated by Katalin Szilágyi).

Katalin Szilágyi translated Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy for the Hungarian edition and holds the copyright to that edition, but has kindly agreed to allow for the free downloading of the book on Harrismatrix.com.
The edition was designed by Rozália Siklósi.

Polish

Zasady Stratygrafii Archeologicznej
by Dr. Edward C. Harris 1989 (translated by Zbigniew Kobyliński).

Zbigniew Kobyliński translated Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy for the Polish edition and holds the copyright to that edition, but have kindly agreed to allow for the free downloading of the book on Harrismatrix.com.

Slovenian

Načela arheološke stratigrafije
by Dr. Edward C. Harris 1989 (translated by Peter Turk and Predrag Novaković).

This Edition was made available for free downloading through the courtesy of the Slovene Archaeological Society (Slovensko arheološko društvo) and translators, Dr. Peter Turk, National Museum of Slovenia and Dr. Predrag Novaković, University of Ljubljana. The book was scanned courtesy of Dr. Douglas S.J. De Couto of MIT and Bermuda.

Spanish

Principios de Estratigrafía Arqueológica
by Dr. Edward C. Harris, Barcelona: Crítica. 1991 (translated by Isabel García Trócoli).

Isabel García Trócoli translated Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy for the Spanish edition and holds the copyright to that edition, but has kindly agreed to allow for the free downloading of the book on Harrismatrix.com.