Excavation Techniques

50 %
50 %
Information about Excavation Techniques

Published on March 9, 2009

Author: PaulVMcDowell

Source: slideshare.net

Description

Describes procedures in excavation from surveys to the dig to dating of hominin remains and artifacts.

Excavation Techniques and Analysis Applications to Paleoanthropology

About Excavation and Analysis Authors’ definition: Study of past cultures analyzing material remains of human behavior Study entails Time: Date of the site and its contents Space: Location of the site and its contents Material remains: siting, retrieval, analysis

Authors’ definition:

Study of past cultures analyzing material remains of human behavior

Study entails

Time: Date of the site and its contents

Space: Location of the site and its contents

Material remains: siting, retrieval, analysis

Fundamentals of Excavation and Analysis Site discovery and selection Excavation of artifacts, ecofacts, and features Analysis for dates, attributes, and environment

Site discovery and selection

Excavation of artifacts, ecofacts, and features

Analysis for dates, attributes, and environment

An Example: Flow Chart for Combe Capelle (A Neanderthal Site) Research Design Discovery Preparation Data Collection (The Dig) Analysis Interpretation/Synthesis

Research Design

Discovery

Preparation

Data Collection (The Dig)

Analysis

Interpretation/Synthesis

Some Definitions Ecofacts: remains of plants, animals, sediments, or other materials not modified by human activity Features: immovable structures, pits, posts, burial sites Artifacts: all portable objects altered by human activity Sites: Landscape where human activity took place, as indicated by the above

Ecofacts: remains of plants, animals, sediments, or other materials not modified by human activity

Features: immovable structures, pits, posts, burial sites

Artifacts: all portable objects altered by human activity

Sites: Landscape where human activity took place, as indicated by the above

How are Sites Formed? Taphonomy: Study of how lifeforms or artifacts wound up at a particular location Primary refuse: items left at site of use Secondary refuse: Items moved elsewhere

Taphonomy: Study of how lifeforms or artifacts wound up at a particular location

Primary refuse: items left at site of use

Secondary refuse: Items moved elsewhere

How are Items Preserved? Material Some materials resist deterioration: Bone: Skulls and teeth Stone or Metal (tools, ornaments) Seeds, with protective covers

Some materials resist deterioration:

Bone: Skulls and teeth

Stone or Metal (tools, ornaments)

Seeds, with protective covers

How Are Objects Preserved? Environment Arid climates (Peruvian coast) Water: Planks at Ozette, WA or France Peat moss: the “Bog People” in Scandinavia Ice: Ötzi the “Iceman” in Austrian/Italian Alps Volcanic Ash, Cerén, El Salvador

Arid climates (Peruvian coast)

Water: Planks at Ozette, WA or France

Peat moss: the “Bog People” in Scandinavia

Ice: Ötzi the “Iceman” in Austrian/Italian Alps

Volcanic Ash, Cerén, El Salvador

Site Discovery Lucky finds Consulting available sources: studies, records, even older informants Maps and aerial photographs Geographical Information Systems/Remote Sensing

Lucky finds

Consulting available sources: studies, records, even older informants

Maps and aerial photographs

Geographical Information Systems/Remote Sensing

Site Selection Learning everything possible about each site Selecting as large and representative a site as possible Preliminary work: surface finds, features, perhaps test pits or trenches Problem-Oriented Research and Deliberate Surveys

Learning everything possible about each site

Selecting as large and representative a site as possible

Preliminary work: surface finds, features, perhaps test pits or trenches

Problem-Oriented Research and Deliberate Surveys

Survey: Mapping, Part 1: General First principle: Digging is destructive--record everything! Mapping Latitude, longitude, and elevation Benchmarks or features Measurements Horizontal Vertical

First principle: Digging is destructive--record everything!

Mapping

Latitude, longitude, and elevation

Benchmarks or features

Measurements

Horizontal

Vertical

Surveying: Mapping Part 2: Horizontal Measurement Select and draw west-east (X-axis) and north-south (Y-axis) baselines from primary site datum Mark off intervals at meters and centimeters from baselines Label the intervals along axes of the grid by letters, numbers, or both Adapt procedure according to topographical or archaeological features

Select and draw west-east (X-axis) and north-south (Y-axis) baselines from primary site datum

Mark off intervals at meters and centimeters from baselines

Label the intervals along axes of the grid by letters, numbers, or both

Adapt procedure according to topographical or archaeological features

Laying Out an Alternative Grid

Survey: Mapping Part 3: Vertical Measurements Surveying using transit or alidade and measuring rod Vertical base: benchmark or permanent feature of known elevation Convert measures to meters above sea level.

Surveying using transit or alidade and measuring rod

Vertical base: benchmark or permanent feature of known elevation

Convert measures to meters above sea level.

Example: Work In Progress

Virtual Dig: Mapping in Combe-Capelle Retraced excavation by Henri-Marc Ami Excavated sample squares of the site Squares distinguished by Letter (X axis) Numbers (Y axis) Vertical measurements by 4 strata.

Retraced excavation by Henri-Marc Ami

Excavated sample squares of the site

Squares distinguished by

Letter (X axis)

Numbers (Y axis)

Vertical measurements by 4 strata.

Survey: Test pits and trenches Test pits provide sample of site stratigraphy Stratigraphy: profile of two or more layers of Natural sediment Human deposits Test pits provide sample of overall site Several pits suggest which part should be excavated most extensively

Test pits provide sample of site stratigraphy

Stratigraphy: profile of two or more layers of

Natural sediment

Human deposits

Test pits provide sample of overall site

Several pits suggest which part should be excavated most extensively

Survey: Test Pits Advantages: Provide preliminary information on site Disadvantages Need more pits to round out information May not yield full stratigraphy

Advantages: Provide preliminary information on site

Disadvantages

Need more pits to round out information

May not yield full stratigraphy

Survey: Trenches Uses Provide full stratigraphy Provide sample of artifacts to establish chronology Locate features Find site boundaries Types Slit trenches Step trenches Backhoe trenches Wall trenches

Uses

Provide full stratigraphy

Provide sample of artifacts to establish chronology

Locate features

Find site boundaries

Types

Slit trenches

Step trenches

Backhoe trenches

Wall trenches

Survey: Trenches—Advantages and Drawbacks Advantages: Good samples of artifacts Find buried features Good time depth Drawbacks Destructive, especially with backhoe Can destroy potential activity areas before knowing what’s there Danger of collapse

Advantages:

Good samples of artifacts

Find buried features

Good time depth

Drawbacks

Destructive, especially with backhoe

Can destroy potential activity areas before knowing what’s there

Danger of collapse

Deciding Where to Excavate Sampling depends on research questions Judgmental Sampling: based on prior knowledge of site; used at Combe-Capelle Probabilistic Sampling Random sampling Stratified sampling: based on prior knowledge Known trash deposits or architectural features Ensure everything significant is included

Sampling depends on research questions

Judgmental Sampling: based on prior knowledge of site; used at Combe-Capelle

Probabilistic Sampling

Random sampling

Stratified sampling: based on prior knowledge

Known trash deposits or architectural features

Ensure everything significant is included

Tools for Excavation Dental picks or paint brushes Ice picks Tweezers (fragile objects) Trowels (pointed and square) Shovels (pointed and square-nosed) Heavy equipment (backhoes) Buckets and Screens

Dental picks or paint brushes

Ice picks

Tweezers (fragile objects)

Trowels (pointed and square)

Shovels (pointed and square-nosed)

Heavy equipment (backhoes)

Buckets and Screens

Tools Used for Rough Excavation Shovel, Round Nose Club Hammer Pick Chisel, Flat Pry Bar Scraper, Long Handle Sledge Hammer

Shovel, Round Nose Club Hammer

Pick Chisel, Flat

Pry Bar Scraper, Long Handle

Sledge Hammer

Tools Used for Fine Excavation Top row: plastic paint trowel, rubber air puffer, large brushes, small brush, wooden/plastic sculpting tools/small paint trowel), plastic spoon Bottom row: note pad, folding ruler (in cm.), Marshalltown trowel (45-5), 8"mill bastard file, plastic spoon, plastic trowel, tape measure (3-4 m. is sufficient)

Top row: plastic paint trowel, rubber air puffer, large brushes, small brush, wooden/plastic sculpting tools/small paint trowel), plastic spoon Bottom row: note pad, folding ruler (in cm.), Marshalltown trowel (45-5), 8"mill bastard file, plastic spoon, plastic trowel, tape measure (3-4 m. is sufficient)

Vertical Excavation: Some “Laws” Law of Association: Artifacts found at the same stratum (layer) are in association with one another Artifacts found at different strata are not in association with one another Law of Superposition: Geological layers are stratified one upon another Lower strata are older than higher ones Uniformitarianism: Geological processes similar throughout time

Law of Association:

Artifacts found at the same stratum (layer) are in association with one another

Artifacts found at different strata are not in association with one another

Law of Superposition: Geological layers are stratified one upon another

Lower strata are older than higher ones

Uniformitarianism: Geological processes similar throughout time

The “Laws” Illustrated a) Law of Association: Skeleton, dagger, and burial pit are at the same level b) Law of Superposition: pot is at the higher stratum and stone axe is at the lower stratum

a) Law of Association: Skeleton, dagger, and burial pit are at the same level

b) Law of Superposition: pot is at the higher stratum and

stone axe is at the lower stratum

Vertical Excavation: Stratigraphy Layer deposited in chronological order: lowest layer is oldest and so on. Disturbances can change stratigraphy Erosion from hillside: oldest is top layer Structure foundation disturbs layers Burrowing animals may move objects Then there are golddiggers and pothunters

Layer deposited in chronological order: lowest layer is oldest and so on.

Disturbances can change stratigraphy

Erosion from hillside: oldest is top layer

Structure foundation disturbs layers

Burrowing animals may move objects

Then there are golddiggers and pothunters

Vertical Excavation: Procedure: Each artifact is recorded and removed Photographed, sketched, or described Vertical and horizontal position Soils analyzed for chemistry, pollen, etc Associations between artifacts are recorded Assumption: artifacts found at same layer occurred at same time period

Each artifact is recorded and removed

Photographed, sketched, or described

Vertical and horizontal position

Soils analyzed for chemistry, pollen, etc

Associations between artifacts are recorded

Assumption: artifacts found at same layer occurred at same time period

Vertical Excavation: Proveniencing Definition: recording artifacts in three-dimensional space Transit and stadia rod: record is set from a secondary datum point Theolodite: Records the position of a artifact Using both vertical and horizontal coordinates

Definition: recording artifacts in three-dimensional space

Transit and stadia rod: record is set from a secondary datum point

Theolodite: Records the position of a artifact

Using both vertical and horizontal coordinates

What is a Theolodite? Left: Front View Right: Back View Front Lens Viewing Lens and Focus Gun Sights Adjustment knobs (v and h)

Left: Front View Right: Back View

Front Lens Viewing Lens and Focus

Gun Sights Adjustment knobs (v and h)

Laser Theolodite Adds an electronic distance meter (EDM) And a laser device to the theolodite It records the position of an artifact Using a laser bouncing off a prism of known height Results can be written down or linked to a portable computer Printer can produce tags that are detached And put with the artifact to be photographed before removal

Adds an electronic distance meter (EDM)

And a laser device to the theolodite

It records the position of an artifact

Using a laser bouncing off a prism of known height

Results can be written down or linked to a portable computer

Printer can produce tags that are detached

And put with the artifact to be photographed before removal

Horizontal Excavation: Procedure As each layer or stratum is excavated, it is removed Same procedure of excavation is repeated for next layer One or two layers: prefer horizontal excavation to get lay of the site Different samples are taken for different layers: soil, pollen, charcoal, bone Some layers may be left for control

As each layer or stratum is excavated, it is removed

Same procedure of excavation is repeated for next layer

One or two layers: prefer horizontal excavation to get lay of the site

Different samples are taken for different layers: soil, pollen, charcoal, bone

Some layers may be left for control

Overview of Dating Unifomitarianism Relative Dating Stratigraphy Association Absolute Dating Calendrical Natural Features Isotopic

Unifomitarianism

Relative Dating

Stratigraphy

Association

Absolute Dating

Calendrical

Natural Features

Isotopic

Dating: Uniformitarianism Uniformitarianism vs. Catastrophism Uniformitarianism: All geological processes--erosion, weathering--observable today have always been present and at the same rate Uniformitarianism is the basis of dating. Catastrophism: Changes have been sudden and have occurred at different rates in the past from those of the present.

Uniformitarianism vs. Catastrophism

Uniformitarianism: All geological processes--erosion, weathering--observable today have always been present and at the same rate

Uniformitarianism is the basis of dating.

Catastrophism: Changes have been sudden and have occurred at different rates in the past from those of the present.

Relative Dating Stratigraphy: Establishment of sequences by soil strata Exceptions: soil disturbance, erosion. Law of Association: Dating of finds within a stratum

Stratigraphy: Establishment of sequences by soil strata

Exceptions: soil disturbance, erosion.

Law of Association: Dating of finds within a stratum

Chronometric Associations Basic principle: Materials associated with other materials of known age are the same age range Bottle styles and clay pipes . Gravestones in Stoneham, MA (Deetz)

Basic principle: Materials associated with other materials of known age are the same age range

Bottle styles and clay pipes .

Gravestones in Stoneham, MA (Deetz)

Absolute Dating: Calendrical Entails use of traditional calendars Mayan Long Count: Beginning date fixed at 3113 BC Calendar Rounds: 260- and 365-day calendars Egyptians: 332 BC Conquest by Alexander the Great Traced back through recorded dynasties Astronomical events checked by present data Others: Chinese, Romans, Greeks

Entails use of traditional calendars

Mayan

Long Count: Beginning date fixed at 3113 BC

Calendar Rounds: 260- and 365-day calendars

Egyptians:

332 BC Conquest by Alexander the Great

Traced back through recorded dynasties

Astronomical events checked by present data

Others: Chinese, Romans, Greeks

Absolute Dating: Natural Features Dendrochronology: Tree ring dating Tree rings vary from year to year Local stumps or timber compared with master sequence (e.g., Univ. of Arizona) Varve analysis: Clay deposits in lakes from melting ice. Patterns also differ yearly Likewise compared with master chart.

Dendrochronology: Tree ring dating

Tree rings vary from year to year

Local stumps or timber compared with master sequence (e.g., Univ. of Arizona)

Varve analysis: Clay deposits in lakes from melting ice.

Patterns also differ yearly

Likewise compared with master chart.

Absolute Dating: Isotopic or Radiometric Techniques Common Principles Isotopes: Radioactive variants of elements (e.g. carbon, potassium) Isotopes decay from radioactive to nonradioactive element They do so at a constant rate Half Life: The period in which radioactivity rate reaches half the original rate.

Common Principles

Isotopes: Radioactive variants of elements (e.g. carbon, potassium)

Isotopes decay from radioactive to nonradioactive element

They do so at a constant rate

Half Life: The period in which radioactivity rate reaches half the original rate.

Isotopic Techniques: Radiocarbon Dating Carbon is found in all lifeforms Carbon 12 is the stable element All living things accumulate Carbon 14 At death, carbon 14 decays at a constant rate to Carbon 12 It reaches half the rate of original radioactivity in 5730 years At 11460 years, radioactivity is half the second rate--and so on

Carbon is found in all lifeforms

Carbon 12 is the stable element

All living things accumulate Carbon 14

At death, carbon 14 decays at a constant rate to Carbon 12

It reaches half the rate of original radioactivity in 5730 years

At 11460 years, radioactivity is half the second rate--and so on

Isotopic Techniques: Accelerator Mass Spectrometry In dating, a sample is cleaned then burned to produce gas Proportion of C14 to C12 is then counted using Geiger counter Several grams are required for the count Accelerated Mass Spectrometer: counts individual molecules Advantage: High accuracy, less material

In dating, a sample is cleaned then burned to produce gas

Proportion of C14 to C12 is then counted using Geiger counter

Several grams are required for the count

Accelerated Mass Spectrometer: counts individual molecules

Advantage: High accuracy, less material

Isotopic Techniques: Radiopotassium Dating Half life: 1.3 billion years Potassium is found in granite, basalt, clay Potassium 40 decays to a gas, Argon 40 Argon 40 accumulate when a rock is formed Disadvantage: materials less than 500,000 years old cannot be dated

Half life: 1.3 billion years

Potassium is found in granite, basalt, clay

Potassium 40 decays to a gas, Argon 40

Argon 40 accumulate when a rock is formed

Disadvantage: materials less than 500,000 years old cannot be dated

Other Absolute Dating Techniques Electronic Spin Resonance: Accumulation of unpaired electrons in crystals in tooth enamel and other items with calcium (inaccurate in bone) Geomagnetism: Alignment of particles on magnetic rock; this is approximate and there are few labs Obsidian Hydration: Reaction with water; measured by thickness of accretion.

Electronic Spin Resonance:

Accumulation of unpaired electrons in crystals in tooth enamel and other items with calcium (inaccurate in bone)

Geomagnetism:

Alignment of particles on magnetic rock; this is approximate and there are few labs

Obsidian Hydration:

Reaction with water; measured by thickness of accretion.

Conclusion: Dating All techniques are problematic Appropriate labs may be rare Analyzable material must be present: no volcanic rock, no radiopotassium dates Inherent problems: radiocarbon dating may be off by centuries Best strategy: use several techniques e.g. dendrochronology with radiocarbon.

All techniques are problematic

Appropriate labs may be rare

Analyzable material must be present: no volcanic rock, no radiopotassium dates

Inherent problems: radiocarbon dating may be off by centuries

Best strategy: use several techniques

e.g. dendrochronology with radiocarbon.

Conclusion All excavation involves destruction Therefore, sites have to be Excavated carefully, often with trowels Recorded for location and elevation Artifacts catalogued before removal Features have to be mapped Ideal: Sites could be reconstructed Based on recording of data

All excavation involves destruction

Therefore, sites have to be

Excavated carefully, often with trowels

Recorded for location and elevation

Artifacts catalogued before removal

Features have to be mapped

Ideal: Sites could be reconstructed

Based on recording of data

Add a comment

Related presentations

Related pages

Excavation Techniques - Excavation

Excavation is among the most fundamental and important of construction techniques. It (Excavation) is primarily used in the case of the presence of new ...
Read more

Techniques of Archaeological Excavation: Amazon.de: Philip ...

Philip Barker - Techniques of Archaeological Excavation jetzt kaufen. ISBN: 9780713471694, Fremdsprachige Bücher - Archäologie
Read more

Excavation Techniques in Historical Archaeology

AUSTRALIAN HISTORICAL ARCHAEOLOGY, 3,1985 Excavation Techniques in Historical Archaeology EDWARD HIGGINBOTHAM This paperdiscusses the development ...
Read more

Techniques of Archaeological Excavation: Amazon.de: Philip ...

Philip Barker - Techniques of Archaeological Excavation jetzt kaufen. ISBN: 9780876633991, Fremdsprachige Bücher - Fremdsprachige Bücher
Read more

Different Excavation Techniques Used For Construction ...

Construction is a very complex activity and requires lot of work to be done. When you are getting started with a construction work, the very ...
Read more

Techniques of Archaeological Excavation - Buchhandel.de ...

Philip Barker - Techniques of Archaeological Excavation - Buchhandel.de - Bücher lokal kaufen
Read more

Techniques of Archaeological Excavation ebook | weltbild.de

eBook Shop: Techniques of Archaeological Excavation als Download. Jetzt eBook sicher bei Weltbild runterladen & bequem mit Ihrem Tablet oder eBook Reader ...
Read more

Introduction to Archaeology - Spoilheap Archaeology

Introduction to Archaeology ... Excavation, the technique most widely associated with archaeology, is only one of many methods of studying the past.
Read more