Posthole cut The cut that formed the hole. It is cut from the ground surface level at time of construction. The sides of the hole may be distorted by later pressure on the post [as in the left hand example of the image, or later disturbance. Only careful excavation will be able to distinguish between the original cut profile and any later distortion.
The cut needs to be distinguished from the fill in any detailed stratigraphic analysis, in the same way that any pit fill has to post-date the cutting of the pit, even if by minutes.
Dug up soil Soil excavated from the hole, usually sitting in a pile next to hole ready for backfilling. Ideal sequence will be that the dug up soil will have material dug through first at the bottom of the pile with material from deeper down on top of the pile. In optimal situations the location of dug up soil can be detected adjacent to filled postholes especially where subsoil differs markedly from the surface material.
Post Normally a round or squared timber placed in the hole. Sometimes a stone may be set in the hole below the post to prevent the post sinking in soft ground or sticks and stones to keep the post properly aligned until it is filled. Many cultures charred their posts to slow down rate of decay in situ. This is sometimes mistaken for burning in situ. Posts may, in modern times, be soaked in creosote or other decay inhibitors or termite preventatives.
The post may survive as an element or have decayed [a postpipe], or been removed. Even if decayed there should be a dark organic stain that matches the original dimensions and extent of the post.
Posthole fill / Post packing The dug up soil goes back in the hole once the post is in place. Sometimes structural needs require that the hole is also packed with rocks or smaller sticks to keep the post in desired position. Ideally dug out material returns to the pit in its original stratigraphic order but inevitably mixing occurs so that ground layers and posthole layers are distinguishable. Logically not all of the contents of the hole will fit back once the post is emplaced, so remaining soil may be left in a pile or scattered.
Postpipe or post mould The decayed buried section of the post that remains in situ. Some archaeologists prefer ~pipe where it is predominantly still organic material and ~mould where this has been replaced by sediment.
Post void Where a pipe has been removed. This may be uncovered as a cavity, although this is rare and usually a combination of slumping of posthole fill and inwashed deposits fill the position of the post, which is usually termed post mould.
Posthole This is the generic term for all of the archaeological evidence contained within the cut, particularly when seen in plan view, including any artefacts that have been introduced during the cutting and filling sequence.