•Spatially defined areas where one can find remnants of past human activity. Can be
collected into one group or in several groups
•Physical location in three dimensional space
Site Level: Employ a Grid System for the actual site
Regional Level: Map co-ordinates and settlement features (e.g. Roads, Towns)
Site formation Processes
Nature of the Artifacts: What were they used for? What were they made of?
Human Agencies: Where were they used? Actions of the humans; actions that led to the creation
of the artifacts.
Natural Agencies: Natural disturbances that can aid preservation or ruin it. E.g. Soil
composition, environments, temperature, disturbance by animals (taphonomic processes)
Finding Archaeological Sites
•Field Walking: used to survey ploughed areas (very efficient, common) Can cover a huge
amount of ground in a relatively short time.
•Testpitting: Used to survey areas that cannot be examined by other methods. Go through the
area and dig small test pits every so often and then straining the contents (Not as efficient)
•Aerial photography, satellite imaging: A great tool for finding sites, or identifying areas of
high potential. Works well when there are large-scale landscape features.
•Remote Sensing: Measures the resistance of the ground to an electrical current. Current
passes more quickly through wet ground than dry ground. Based on how quickly the current
passes you can find out if there are pits or pieces of foundation under the soil (fairly easy)
Remote sensing (Magnetometry): Measures magnetic fields below the earths surface. Some
archaeological features (e.g. building materials with iron, hearth events) have their own magnetic
Remote sensing (Ground Penetrating Radar)(GPR): Uses low-energy radio waves to detect
subsurface features. The stronger the bounce, the bigger the object or feature. The longer it takes
for the radar to return, the deeper the object or feature. Only method to provide data along
vertical axis of soil matrix (possibly most common).
Benefits of remote sensing
•Cost effective, efficient and accurate
•Non-destructive and non-invasive
•Devices are relatively portable