Excavating a Site

1.2 Excavating a Site

Excavating a Site

In order to properly observe those relationships, and because digging actually destroys sites, archaeologists first lay out a checkerboard grid on the ground. They then carefully excavate each square of the grid by hand. The soil is screened so that even tiny items can be saved. Much time is spent smoothing the walls and floor of a square so that the variations in soil color and texture can be detected and interpreted. Information is recorded in the written field notes, on maps, and in photographs. Objects are removed from the ground with delicate tools and much patience. Excavation is not glamorous; rather it is tiring, dirty, often-tedious work that is absolutely essential if remnants of past cultures are to be preserved and understood.

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