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Chapter 3 - Doing Fieldwork: Surveying For Archaeological Sites
Terms in this set (40)
Any place where material evidence exists about the human past. Usually, "site" refers to a concentration of such evidence.
Arrowheads, dart points, or spear points
How do archaeological sites get their names?
Sometimes they're named after prominent topographic features (location, nearby mountains, rivers, towns or rock formations). Private land sites are commonly named after the owner. Some become the namesakes of those who find them, and other times because of an event or story attached to the location.
Hunter-gatherers' pattern of movement between different places on the landscape, timed to the seasonal availability of food and other resources.
The distribution of archaeological sites across a region.
The movements and activities reconstructed from a settlement pattern.
Individuals who are interested in archaeology but have no academic credentials. Many collect artifacts on their own and are important sources of information for gumshoe survey. Four to five times more of these individuals exist over professional archaeologists..
What is the difficulty with the typical site fallacy?
No matter what site you select (winter village sites vs small upland shelters) you'll miss a great deal of information and likely have a biased reconstruction because no site is typical of the entire settlement pattern.
Winter Village Sites
Represent the lengthiest occupation and probably contain the most variety of activities - typically located on windswept ridges where the wind blows the snow away and all that is preserved are stone tools and ceramics.
Where hunters briefly camped while pursuing prey. Preservation is usually excellent and chances are good for finding sandals, snares, and pieces of bows, arrows, food bones, seeds and fire-making apparatus. But they only represent a minor portion of overall pattern. Women likely not included in hunting actives and men only conducted a limited range in the location.
What is the goal of an archaeological survey?
To document the range of archaeological remains across a landscape, to avoid creating a biased image of the lives of ancient peoples, which are done by looking systematically at how sites are distributed across a region. A way to generate data on a regional scale.
A fist-sized, round, flat, handheld stone used with a metate for grinding foods.
A large, flat stone used as a stationary surface upon which seeds, tubers, and nuts are ground with a mano.
Systematic Regional Survey
A set of strategies for arriving at accurate descriptions of the range of archaeological material across a landscape.
The best way to ensure unbiased results. To acquire a sample survey, you first need to define the statistical population and define a relevant sample universe.
A set of counts, measurements, or characteristics about which relevant inquiries are to be made. Scientists use the term in a specialized way (very different from "population" in the typical sense).
The region/site that contains/characterizes the statistical population and that will be sampled. Its size and shape are determined by the research question and practical considerations.
Where does the size and shape of the survey area come from?
The research question and practical considerations such as various lowland environments (wetland, dunes, flats) and mountain ranges.
A sample drawn from a statistical population such that every member of the population has an equal chance of being included in the sample.
Random being critical and if the sample isn't selected in a random manner, then some sites may be overrepresented and other underrepresented which could bias final results.
Permits analyzing results statistically and offers meaningful results. Not good for finding rare sites.
The percentage of the sample universe that is surveyed. Areas with a lot of variability in archaeological remains require larger sample fractions than do areas of low variability.
Survey units of a standard size and shape (square, circles, transects), determined by the research question and practical considerations, used to obtain the sample. The choice of which to use spends on the research question.
Long, narrow rectangles.
Universal Transverse Mercator, a grid system in which north and east coordinates provide a location anywhere in the world, precise to 1 meter.
Stratified Random Sample
A survey universe divided into several sub universities that are then sampled at potentially different sample fractions.
Ex: Take the sample universe and stratify it into subs such as wetlands, areas East vs West, valleys, mountains, etc.
A conical structure made of poles or logs laid against one another that served as a fall or winter home among the prehistoric Shoshone and Paiute. Built sometime in the early 20th century.
A unique catalog number given to each site; it consists of a number (the state's position alphabetically), a letter abbreviating the country, and the site's sequential number within the country.
A geologic process whereby fine sediment is blown away by the wind and larger items - including artifacts - are lowered onto a common surface and thus become recognizable as a site.
Most fine sediment is gone with larger items left behind with remains originally maybe discarded at different times throughout an accumulating area are left together on the same surface. The process produces a dense scatter of debris.
Analysis of archaeological patters manifested on a scale of kilometres or hectares, rather than patterns within a single site. Focuses NOT on the artifacts collected from a single site, but the regional patterns in artifacts.
Global Positioning System
GPS: Handheld devices that use triangulation from radio waves received from satellites to determine your current position in terms of either the UTM grid or latitude and longitude.
Assists with surveys.
The upper portion of a soil profile that has been disturbed by repeated plowing or other agricultural activity. Will turn up shallowly buried remains.
A sample survey method used in regions where rapid soil buildup obscures buried archaeological remains; it entails digging shallow, systematic pits across the survey unit. Slow and can't locate remains more than a meter deep.
The use of some form of electromagnetic energy to detect and measure characteristics of an archaeological trait.
Proton Precession Magnetometer
A remote sensing technique that measure the strength of magnetism between the earth's magnetic core and a sensor controlled by the archaeologist. Magnetic anomalies can indicate the presence of buried walls or features.
Soil Resistivity Survey
A remote sensing technique that monitors the electrical resistance of soils in a restricted volume near the surface of an archaeological site; changes in the amount of resistance registered by the resistivity meter can indicate buried walls or features.
Ground Penetrating Radar
GPR: A remote sensing technique in which radar pulses directed into the ground reflect back to the surface when they strike features or interfaces within the ground (like changes in dirt density, groundwater, buried objects, voids, interfaces between soil and rock), showing the presence and depth of possible buried features.
Used to find buried rock, deep swamp deposits, and caverns. Groundwater is an issue for these studies because it changes the relative permeability of most sediments. Soils are good reflectors when associated with steep changes in water content. Unsorted sediments have no clear reflection, and GPR is generally infected over saltwater. Works best when soil resistivity is high like in well-drained soils and those with low clay content.
Geographic Information System (GIS)
A computer system that stores, retrieves, analyzes, and displays cartographic data.
All consist of 3 primary components: 1) powerful computer graphics program used to draw a map, 2) one or more external databases linked to objects shown on the map, 3) a set of analytical tools that can graphically interpret or statistically analyze stored data.
Earthly features are not depicted visually - but as digital information and not like standard two-dimensional maps.
Can buffer quickly.
Data that are input to a GIS database using a common mapping reference—for example, the UTM grid—so that all data can be spatially analyzed in minutes.
The study of ancient human modification of the environment.
Thermal Infrared Multispectral Scanning (TIMS)
A remote sensing technique that uses equipment mounted on aircraft or satellites to measure infrared thermal radiation given off by the ground. Sensitive to differences as small as 0.1" denigrate, and can locate subsurface structures by tracking how they affect surface thermal radiation.
High quality with resolution depending on altitude.
Why did the Chaco people build roads across the desert?
The elaborate road system covered more than 250,000 square kilometres, yet the ancestors of modern Pueblo peoples had no wheeled vehicles or even beasts of burden. The roads did not serve simply as part of their economy. Food and goods may have been moved this way, but was probably not the road's primary purpose; they "could" be religious paths, or helped to integrate small with the large houses in the canyon. The true purpose isn't really known as of yet. GIS technology casts doubt on the economic hypothesis.
Looking around for a good site to excavate by talking to a lot of people; a combination of happenstance, hard work, and luck.
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