Stratigraphy is very important for understanding the history of Earth, from its beginning to the present. However, elementary mistakes can be made by those who have no training in its field. Let us then write the rules of stratigraphy, which Gunnar Heinsohn clearly does not understand.
1. Rates of stratigraphic deposition are not constant, and may be reversed. A corollary of this rule is that stratigraphic gaps do not necessarily indicate a gap in sediment deposition, though, in archaeology, a lack of artifacts does indicate a lack of occupation. Another corollary of this rule that gaps in sediment accumulation can occur. For example, Tell el-Hesi (the first tell excavated in Palestine) only gained four feet of sediment between c. 300 BC and 1891. Roughly the same amount of ash and lime was deposited within two hundred years (between the Amarna era and that of Ramesses III). Some billion years are missing from the exposed strata in the Grand Canyon. At Jericho, the Early Bronze strata are the first ones found on top of the tell, even though settlement continued on and off into the Persian period. Sediment deposition rates may depend on environment, construction, stratigraphic composition, and climate.
2. Dateable remains (such as pottery, fossils, and other objects) within strata often date them better than anything else. These remains are either dated by the historical dates of strata (these can sometimes be determined by coins, scarabs, foreign pottery, cuneiform tablets, ect.).
3. The exception to Rule 2 is that contexts must be secure; for example, an MB Cuneiform tablet was found at Hazor in an Iron Age room, and, even more prominently, the fact the largest portion of lmlk impressions at Lachish, originating from stratum III, destroyed by Sennacherib in 701 BC, have been found on the surface, and some have been found in the Perso-Hellenistic (I) and the Iron IIC (II) stratum.
4. Physical dating methods are to be used only when historical dating cannot establish an absolute date and when contexts are certain.
For more criticism of Gunnar Heisohn’s bullshit, see the “Jerusalem” and “Chronology” pages of this blog. Also, see the previous post.