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CLA260 - LECTURE 22.doc

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Ben Akrigg

CLA260H1S – LECTURE 22 Getting the measure of the land 2 In modern classical archaeology ‘survey’ usually refers not to ‘land’ surveying (which is what the material above is concerned with) but to ‘systematic regional survey’. This is a technique of archaeological investigation which was closely connected to the emergence of the ‘New Archaeology’, and which proved to be relatively popular with classical archaeologists. • This kind of survey is: o focussed on regions, rather than on individual sites o based on surface reconnaissance, rather than excavation. • It can include (and combine) large scale topographic survey; geophysical survey; and the use of aerial photography and other forms of remotes sensing: however, the most basic and typical method of archaeological surface survey involves archaeologists just walking over designated areas of land (hence ‘fieldwalking survey’) and looking for all visible traces of past human activity. The areas are usually covered by teams, who are spaced out in lines, between 10 and 25 meters apart. The artefacts they see are counted (and often some pieces are collected). o For fairly obvious reasons this is more likely to be successful in some terrains than others – ploughed fields are ideal. • The results of this kind of reconnaissance contribute both to the identification of previously unknown sites (especially those not known from literary sources), and to the understanding of the landscape between towns and cities. • This kind of investigation was developed first by archaeologists working in Mesoamerica and the southwestern US, (and in Mesopotamia) – the fields where the proponents of the New Archaeology were working – which is not coincidental, as surface survey meshed well with the aims of the New Archaeology’s proponents. o In the 1970s to the 1990s intensive campaigns of surface survey were carried out around the Mediterranean, not least in Greece and Italy. o Its appeal to classical archaeologists was due to a number of factors:  It could be seen as a natural extension of a pre-existing
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