The science of geoarchaeology is responsible for clarifying two fundamentally interrelated concepts: first, the chronology of the site, and second, how it formed. It is an essential component of any Paleolithic excavation, as it is easy for archaeologists to make mistakes when interpreting the archaeological record, thinking it represents human behavior, when in fact it has been altered by physical, chemical, or biological processes which have affected the site and changed the patterning of the remains of human activities. Controlling for site formation processes is equally important in establishing the chronology of the site, which is usually based upon objects (such as charcoal, bones, stone tools) to which radiometric dating techniques have been applied. When establishing a chronology, it is absolutely essential to ensure that each of these objects is in its original context and has not moved as a result of erosion, rodent activity, nor been altered by other factors.
In the lab, geoarchaeologists study the microstratigraphy of the site.
Geoarchaeologists have the important job of dating the deposits within the site. After collecting sediment samples in the field, they analyze them in the lab.