Archaeological excavations are by their very nature destructive—the process of excavation removes deposits and artifacts from their original context and thereby destroys any relational information between them.  Unless this information is rigorously and exhaustively recorded at the time of excavation, archaeologists would be doing little more than “pot hunting.”  The information presented in this document represents the means of recording archaeological deposits—stratum and features—in a rigorous and consistent detail that is used at James Madison’s Montpelier.  It is not designed for the casual reader or participants in the Archaeology Expeditions or Archaeology Excursions.  Student participants to the various field schools are, however, expected to be familiar with this document and the terms therein.