ARCHAEOLOGICAL SAMPLING AND SURVEY
Fieldwalking/ Pedestrian Survey
● Divide study area into transects along grid lines, plant flags whenever you find
something; colour corresponds to what you find
● Situational differences: direction of plough,scars, forest cover, weather, experience of
● Determining “sweep width” is based on numerous aspects: skill, familiarity with local
artifacts, conditions, etc.
Why is Sampling Needed?
● Can we safely assume that an area can be surveyed completely?
● What are the limits to survey strategy?
● Artifacts found
● Literary Sources
● Oral Sources
● Local Knowledge
● Previous Surveys
● Previous Excavations
● Aerial Photography/Google Earth
Is there a single best method for selecting a sample or should your sampling strategy be
influenced by your questions?
A: No single answer; depends on time, money, type of development going on
Hunter-Gatherer Mobility: Logistical (Collectors)
Hunter-Gatherer Mobility: Residential (Foragers)
ANT200 LECTURE 6
● Half life of 5,730 years. In a sample of Carbon 14, half of the atoms will decay to a more
stable carbon isotope over a period of exactly 5,730 years. In other words, 1% of the
sample will decay every 83 years
● AMS (Accelerator Mass Spectrometry): Directly measures isotopes, shooting atoms of
carbon at a very high velocity, sorts by mass and counts how many atoms
● Issue with radiocarbon dating: counting the atoms, preparing the samples so that they
● But… although the ratio of C14 to stable isotopes is constant at a given moment in
time...it is not constant through time...so C14 ages must be calibrated
● Calibration curves developed by dating tree rings of known age
BUT THEN IT ALL COMES BACK TO STRATIGRAPHY AND CONTEXT…
● Areas in semi-desert where there are circular clearings in the grass
● Causes: could be termites who strip away grasses,
● Domestication: A relationship between humans and plants and animals.
● Technology: The tools used for daily tasks
● Sedentism: The development of a ‘constructed landscape’.
Recap of Last class