Basic Site Surveying Techniques

This course is the basic introduction to the survey program.  It discusses the history of archaeological survey, site identification, reading topographic maps, and field procedures.  At least one half day will be spent in the field putting to use the information discussed in class.  The course is a necessity for anyone anticipating an active role in archaeological field work.

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PAAC volunteer Larry Scarborough marking artifacts on a site near Pawnee Buttes.

PAAC volunteer on a site near Pawnee Buttes.

Photo by Kevin Black.

Class Outline

  1. An introduction to archaeological survey
    1. Definition of term
  2. History of archaeological survey in North America
  3. Defining archaeological sites
    1. Sites as cultural resources
    2. Places recorded on surveys
    3. Prehistoric vs. historic sites & isolated finds
  4. Site formation processes
    1. Preservation vs. destruction of site deposits
    2. Natural vs. cultural processes
  5. Site types
    1. The concept of refuse
    2. Prehistoric and historic site types
  6. Preparation for an archaeological survey
    1. Purpose of a survey
    2. Planning a survey, including background research
    3. Research designs
    4. Sampling in survey
  7. Archaeological survey: the field work
    1. Personnel required
    2. Survey procedures
  8. Site recording & mapping procedures
  9. Survey results
    1. Laboratory duties
    2. The final report, preparation & distribution