Locating an archaeological site

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Information about Locating an archaeological site

Published on February 10, 2014

Author: MrWaugh7

Source: slideshare.net

LOCATING AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE Main concern in excavating a site is to understand its history.  Ways of locating sites: AccidentalPloughing, land reclamation, building, quarrying, dredging, constructin g infrastructure (highways, railways, etc) and war.  Written SourcesLiterary clues, folklore, maps, legends and place names. 

Tells  The gradual build of debris from human occupation may led to the creation of mounds or “tells”

What do you see? What does an archaeologist see?

AERIAL SURVEY  Ancient sites can be discovered from the air in several ways. CROP MARKS  Crops grow irregularly and slower when planted over the remains of walls, buildings roads.  Crops growing over ancient pits and trenches grow faster and taller.  From the air outline ancient remains are clear.  Infrared photography makes this clearer.

Soil Marks to the right.

SOIL/SCORCHED MARKS  After a field has been freshly ploughed areas where the soil is darker may indicate a pit, ditch or mound is located below the surface. SHADOW MARKS  Visible from air where low earthworks or mounds existed and cast shadows when the Sun is low in the sky (early morning, sunset and winter).

Soil or crop marks depending on the season

SATELLITE PHOTOGRAPHY  Used to find lost city of Ubar in the Persian Gulf (5,000 years old).  SURVEYING TECHNIQUES  Simple observation - field walking where physical features are noted and finds recorded.  Location of finds are plotted on a site map.  Concentration of finds would indicate a good place to start excavation.

GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY  Produces a visual plan of the features below the surface of the site.

PENETRATING RADAR (GPR) Electromagnetic pulses (radar signals) are transmitted into the ground. The signal patterns indicate buried objects, { location and depth al so any changes in soil.

An electric current is passed through two metal probes in the ground. Buried structures have a high resistance reading. Pits and trenches have a low resistance reading. . RESISTIVITY SURVEY

This method determines the magnetic properties of the soil’s subsurface. High readings indicate the presence of iron, bricks and/or burnt soil. Low readings suggest the ground has been disturbed and/or decayed organic materials. MAGNETIC SURVEYING

Exercise  Select three of the following sites and explain what they are and the clues/methods used to locate them. Sutton Hoo  Staffordshire Hoard  The Dead Sea Scroll  The Maiden Hall treasure  Palace of Knossos  Machu Picchu  Catul Huyuk 

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