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object longcouleefield
archaeology0.peperonity.net

Locating sites

Depending on the
conditions and the
vegetation cover,
different methods are
used to locate sites.
Surface Survey
Surface or "pedestrian"
survey is the most
common way to find
sites in plowed fields.
Artifacts are exposed
by plowing, and are
visible on the surface.
Crews, often made up
of volunteers, line up
and sweep across fields
looking for artifacts.
Surface survey works
best where there is
little vegetation
covering the ground,
such as in the spring.
Many sites are also
found this way by
farmers who find
artifacts on their fields.
When they keep track
of where things were
found, and tell an
archaeologist about the
finds, they're making an
important contribution
to archaeology.


Shovel Testing
In grassy or wooded
areas, sites can be
found by digging small
holes (roughly 50 cm
diameter) at regular
intervals (usually 10-15
meters apart). The soil
is screened to look for
artifacts. Each hole is
mapped, and any
artifacts are mapped by
hole and bagged
separately. Because this
digging destroys a
portion of the site, it
should be supervised by
trained archaeologists
who have a good
reason for investigating
an area.


Examining Creek
Banks
Sites may also be found
by examining eroding
stream banks. These
sites have often been
buried by flood deposits
that have preserved
the archaeological
material. Many times
these sites form a layer
cake representing a
series of occupations in
the same area. The
site's stratigraphy can
then be recorded from
the eroded bank.


Accidental
discoveries
Sometimes sites or
artifacts are discovered
by accident, as when a
construction project
cuts through a
previously unknown
site. Some cave art has
been found by explorers
examining the caves
and observing art on
the wall.
Indirect Methods
New technologies are
making available a wide
range of remote
sensing techniques.
Archaeologists have
found sites through
examination of air
photos, various kinds of
radar, including ground
penetrating radar, and
other indirect methods.
Remote sensing
techniques work best
on sites that have
features such as walls
or deep pits that are
distinctly different from
the surrounding soil.
Radar or pulses of
electricity are
systematically sent into
the ground. Distinct
features will provide a
different reading from
that of the surrounding
soil. These techniques
have not had as much
application in the
Midwest as in other
parts of the world such
as the southwestern
United States or the
Middle East, where
archaeological features
such as buried walls
provide more readily
identifiable patterns.


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