Archaeological Field Methods

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Basic Introduction[edit]

Archaeology is a vast subject area, but this page aims to give an overview on the practical field methods in archaeology. It is hoped that it will become a handbook for archaeologists.

What is archaeology?[edit]

Archaeology has been defined as the "study of The word archaeology comes from ancient Greek, meaning "the study of the beginning."

What are field archaeology methods?[edit]

General approaches to project management[edit]

How to identify an archaeological site and understand site formation[edit]

Field methods[edit]

Primary and secondary sources[edit]

Desk top survey[edit]

Aerial photography[edit]

Ground survey methods[edit]

Methods of recording archaeological sites[edit]

Project management and Planning excavation[edit]

In archaeological excavation English Heritage produced a model of scientific management which is referred to as Management of Archaeological Projects MAP. This document gives the archaeologist clearly defined phases to follow in the organisation of their excavation work. There are five phases: Phase 1 Project Planning Phase 2 Fieldwork Phase 3 Assessment of potential for analysis Phase 4 Analysis and report preparation Phase 5 Dissemination Reference Andrews, G 1991 Management of archaeological projects, London, English Heritage.

Health and safety[edit]

Staff and equipment[edit]

Excavation of site[edit]

Recording excavation site[edit]

The Harris Matrix[edit]

Recording finds[edit]

Post-excavation work[edit]

Drewett P.L, 1999, Field Archaeology: An Introduction, UCL Press Gamble C, 2004, Archaeology: The Basics, Routledge.