Finding a Site Survey and Excavation September 9, 2014 Anth 130 Discovering sites! • • • • • Ground Reconnaissance Ariel Survey GIS Subsurface Investigation Ground-Based Remote Sensing Documentary Sources • Looking at historical documents for clues as to where ancient archaeological sites maybe located Troy • Schliemann's belief in the historical accuracy of Homer led to the finding of ancient Troy • Excavated at the ancient site of Troy in 1872 Biblical Archaeology • When looking for sites in the Near East Biblical archaeology looks to the old and new testament for clues as to sites locations • Example: Megiddo, Israel Old Maps and Place Names • Help to work out plans of historic towns and places • Helps archaeologist know where it would be best to start survey and excavation Survey • Earliest method was to look for the most prominent remains in a landscape: walls, buildings, burial mounds Survey • Archaeologists have realized that people left faint scatters of artifacts throughout the landscape • Not necessarily a site but still represents human activity • Work is done by systamtic survey and sampling procedures • Survey is very important when studying settlement patterns • Used to be used as a preliminary stage of fieldwork but has become its own type of inquiry It is not enough to locate a site and simply study it! You must study it in relation to other sites and the landscape around it Survey • Sometimes excavation does not need to take place after survey • Produces a type of regional data that digging does not • Also used to test natural and mineral resources Survey in Practice • First must establish a boundary • Must understand the natural and cultural processes working in an area • Need to asses your resources Unsystematic Survey • • • • Walking across an area Scanning, recording artifacts Recording any artifacts in relation to features Results can be biased or misleading…why? Systematic Survey • Employs a grid or a series of equal spaces that travers each other • Area is divided into sections which are walked systematically • Easier to know the exact location of a find • Repeated looking can make sure nothing is missed Aerial Survey • Survey using air born (or space born) equipment • Two parts: data collecting and data analysis • They are a means to an end • Google Earth GIS • Geographic Information Systems • Collection of computer hardware and software and geographical data,designed to obtain, manage, store, analyze and display spacial information • Has the ability to perform statistical analysis of site or artifact distribution Subsurface investigation • Probes: probing the soil with a rod or auger and noting positions where they strike solids or hallows Test Pits • Small pits dug into the ground at consistent distances…normally one meter squares but sometimes small round holes • Often used in areas with poor surface visabilty Ground-Based Remote Sensing • Non-destructive techniques to learn more before actually excavation • Geophysical sensing devices that can either pass energy through soil and measure or response to “read” what lies beneth or they measure physical properties without the need to pass energy Seismic and Acoustic Methods • • • • Sonar Detection of graviational anomalies to detect caves Seismic methods to find foundations of buildings Very useful in underwater archaeology Electromagnetic Methods • Ground penetrating radar • Uses radio pluses to map what is under the soil • Used to create “time-slice” maps Earth Resistance Survey • Based on the idea that the damper the soil the more easily it will conduct electricity • Silted ditches retain more mostiure than walls… • Works very well to find pits in chalk or gravel or masonry in clay • Will not fully function if the soil is too hard or dry Magnetic Survey • Buried features (such as hearths or pottery kilns) produce slight distortions in the earth’s magnetic field • This is because of the presence of magnetic minerals Other Things Archaeologists do to find and analyze a site before digging • Use a metal detector • Map the vegetation • Geochemical analysis Now we have site…. • What’s next?