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Archaeology is the study of human culture through material remains from humans in the past. In the Old World, the methods used in recovering them and the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings in achieving the subject's goals. Scientific study of material remains of past human life and activities. These include human artifacts from the very earliest stone tools to the man-made objects that are buried or thrown away in the present day. Archaeological investigations are a principal source of modern knowledge of prehistoric, ancient, and extinct cultures. The field emerged as an academic discipline in the late 19th century, following centuries of haphazard antiquarian collecting. Among the archaeologist's principal activities are the location, surveying, and mapping of sites and the excavation, classification, dating, and interpretation of materials to place them in historical context. Major subfields include classical archaeology, the study of ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civilizations; prehistoric archaeology, or general archaeology; and historical archaeology, the study of historic-period remains to augment the written record. Anthropology; coin collecting; stone-tool industry . There are two methods of finding archaeological artifacts and remains. These are1- Traditional methods 2-Modern methods
Traditional method of finding archaeological records is an old technique. It is less expensive and easy. This method divides in three parts1-Chance discoveries 2-Surface Findings 3-Literary accounts
Partially accidental and involuntary discoveries are known as chance finds, many times lead to the discovery of ancient sites. Chance finds occur as a result of work undertaken by human agency or by natural forces. Natural erosion has several times exposed the first traces of lost sites. Wind and water are the chief elements which contribute to natural erosion, leading to exposure of a site. Rain, in the form of streams, cut through the ancient sites and thus expose different strata and the structures and the material imbedded in them. The rivers changing their course and the seas cutting the shores also many times reveal hidden sites. Similarly, a fall in the level of a lake can expose previously submerged sites. Human activity is more varied than that of the nature. The diggings for foundation and road laying have brought to light numerous archaeological sites. The great Indus valley site Mohenjo-Daro was discovered while laying railway track. The accidental discovery of numerous coins and sculptures is well known.
Archaeological resources can be defined as the physical traces of material culture left behind by people in the past. These remnants of the past may be visible on the surface of the earth, or deeply buried, leaving no indication of their existence; or partially or completely submerged in a lake, a river or the sea, like a shipwreck. Examples include evidence of past human activity such as a stone tool flaking area, a butchering site, a fishing station or an industrial site; remains of human settlement such as a temporary shelter, building, trading post, agricultural settlement or village; vestiges of means of communication or transportation, such as a ship or dugout canoe; and the context in which these traces are found, including the stratigraphy and the spatial distribution of artifacts.
Ancient literary works contain lot of information regarding ancient townships, pilgrim places, important routes etc. All kinds of literary works can contribute to the search for sites, but more important are the topographical and geographical works. The great Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata and the works Kalidas, Kalhana, Herodotus, Megasthenese, Fahien, Itsing etc, have contributed greatly not only in identifying the ancient cities and religious centers but also their extent and condition.
has the potential to show as a shadow site. remote sensing tool available to archaeologists searching for new archaeological sites. satellite images and geophysics. and secondly it must be low enough to cast a shadow (Fig. All data gathered through remote sensing can be separated. Slight . 2). Aerial photography is. This means that in the summer months photographs can generally be taken only early in the morning or late in the evening.(eg. Kaundinyapura. of course.Ujjain. Barukacha). It must also be remembered that shadows will only be cast more or less at right angles to the rays of the sun. some of the archaeology must have variable height to cast a shadow. must be right. Remote sensing involves any techniques which capture geographic data by sensors at some distance from the surface being recorded. Several photographs taken throughout the day during a sunny winter day will produce the maximum of information. Another advantage of photographing shadow sites in the winter is that vegetation is likely to be at its thinnest during the winter months. Firstly there must be some sun. Generally. A bank running parallel to the rays of the sun will be invisible at that moment. For most of the day the sun will be too high and no useful shadows will be cast.Pataliputra. some bits of the site may not cast shadows. Sanchi. If nothing is visible from the aircraft. The main elements of remote sensing are aerial photography. the process of recording what an observer sees. like banks or ditches.Vijayanagara. which forms one of the key elements of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Any site with humps and bumps. nothing will be visible on the photograph. Modern methods There are many types of modern methods- Aerial photography Aerial photography is the earliest. The conditions.Hastinapura. however. and perhaps still the most important. so in effect remain invisible.Tamrali pti. and manipulated through the activity of image processing. just before sunset. even when conditions are ideal. To be visible as a shadow site. combined.
This will not present a problem in grazed pasture where vegetation is likely to be very thin in late summer. Conditions like this are.undulations covered with heather or bracken may become invisible. showing up banks and ditches in a very dramatic way. may also show up well after a slight dusting of snow. emphasizing dips like pits or ditches. Slight flooding in lowlying areas may persist long enough for a photographic record of water-filled hollows to be made. fairly rare in Britain and usually very short-lived. Torrential rain may also briefly collect in hollows. however. Arial photography . however. conditions may not be ideal for flying. Snow will blow off ridges and catch in hollows. particularly after a dry spell. Sites with variation in height. like standing earthworks. In this case.
Figure 1 Aerial photography: shadow sites. soil marks and crop mark .
Even in ploughed areas there may be problems. The depth of these new soil deposits may become so great that roots of growing crops never reach the underlying archaeological features. Ground survey Archaeological sites may also be found by systematic ground survey.Figure 2 A e r i a l photography: shadow site Much of the landscape is never amenable to aerial photography. then some type of sampling may be appropriate. If. If you are surveying a specific block of land prior to a development like house construction. and never when they have been built on. In undulating fields soil moves from ridges into hollows and dry valleys. Rarely do features show up in woodland. . Sampling a landscape to locate sites can be undertaken either by examining discrete blocks of the landscape (squares or quadrats) or by walking lines across the landscape (transects). then an attempt should be made to survey the whole of the available area. however. This can be approached in a variety of ways. depending on the aims of the survey and the available time and money. you intend to survey large areas.
on motorways.One way to achieve geographic coverage is to use a stratified random sample. but more usually it is done using a systematic pattern of transects like parallel lines across a river valley or mountain range. without looking at the landscape first. It does not. get around the problem of clustering. like mountains. or in the middle of rivers! Clearly some landscapes are more amenable to this type of sampling than others. This guarantees geographic coverage. transects or simple non. however. An alternative to this is to select randomly a different location within each square. rather than pretending it is actually possible to discover all archaeological sites that ever existed in an area. The actual width of the transects. known as stratified systematic unaligned has the advantage of being systematic (guaranteeing wide coverage) but with a random element. This could be done from randomly selected spots in the landscape. This design. In practice. Clearly the closer the spacing and the wider the transects. Each zone is then sampled separately in the same way as simple random sampling. all these sampling designs present problems in the field. of course. To do this the area to be surveyed is broken into geographic zones. Whether you are using random quadrates. the next stage is to decide what ground survey techniques to use. To do this the area is gridded and a point within the first square is selected randomly. To avoid clustering. The important thing is to discover the range of sites of different levels of complexity. creating a random pattern of transects. An alternative to examining quadrats in the landscape is to examine lines or transects across the landscape. Exactly the same location is then selected in each square. low hills and valleys. and their spacing. If you apply a sampling strategy rigidly. depends on time and resources. the area could be sampled in a systematic way.probabilistic sampling based on your experience of where sites are likely to be. the better your coverage will be. . you may discover many of your points end up in factories.
Walking lines enables large areas to be scanned relatively rapidly. although at its simplest this could be a grab sample recorded by field (if they are of relatively small size). collect and plot artifact spreads – is probably the most appropriate method. then field walking – to locate.Figure 3 Sampling designs: (1) simple random. like circles. It is more usual. (3) systematic. have been tried. however. Firstly . This survey should be systematic. (2) stratified random. to walk either lines or squares. (4) stratified systematic unaligned If the area is ploughed. although other shapes.
you must select a suitable time of year and a field team. for recording purposes. The selection and training of your field team is also of crucial importance. there is nothing special about a north–south orientation. often at the same interval as the line spacing. In practice one person will walk each line. This may be determined by the law in a particular country or by the fact that many museums simply do not want hundreds of fragments of floor tile. Walking lines enables large tracts of land to be scanned relatively quickly. They must also be trained to reduce bias as far as possible. Clearly they must be fit enough to survive slow field-searching. but the greater the risk of missing small concentrations of artifacts. The further apart they are. More importantly. How far apart you space your lines depends on the nature of your survey and available resources. Lines can be easily laid out using a prismatic compass and tapes or any of a wide range of surveying equipment. and those contrasting in color with the background soil as opposed to those of similar color. Some surveys do not collect the artifacts but simply identify and count each type and leave them in situ. the larger the area that can be surveyed in a given time. The lines are usually marked on the ground with ranging poles. The best time for field walking is after the ploughed area has been allowed to weather for some time. The advantage of north–south lines is that the area can be easily surveyed over a number of years and each new survey can be slotted into the existing surveys. for example. Each bag is clearly marked with the line and segment numbers. It is always easier to see big fragments of pottery than small. Lines may be laid out either in relation to the existing field pattern. Usually lines are spaced between 30 m and 100 m apart. however. often in very wet or cold conditions. It is always better to discard artifacts on . it could be any orientation. As with aerial photography. All artifacts are collected and bagged (in a strong plastic bag as paper bags are not much use in the rain). scanning about a meter each side of the line. they must be able to recognize all likely artifacts that could be found in the area. while rain will wash artifacts making them easier to see. Each line is broken along its length. or more usually along a north–south axis. Frost will break up the clods of clay. you will need to keep almost a weekly watch on fields for conditions to be just right. It also looks neater on the map! In terms of results.
over detailed recording is often a waste of time. If time is available (which it rarely is) the squares can be walked from two directions. it should be quantified and represented in some graphic . For more intensive surveys the grid system is more appropriate. The smaller the squares.site rather than take them elsewhere. cattle and the like. Shell may have been brought to the area by hermit crabs or bones by scavenging animals. picking up all artifacts they see. be the same for every square in the survey. because individually they cannot often be dated. This was deliberate. The size of the grid square will depend on how detailed a survey you are aiming at. The number of walks across a square must. but they could be larger or smaller. All the time the field surveyor must weigh up time and cost against value of recovered information. However. goats. In this type of survey the area is gridded. Throughout this section on field walking the term ‘artifact’ has been used. or the position of plough-damaged human burials. the longer they will take to set out. Other materials like bones and shells create more of a problem. Artifacts can usually be at least approximately dated. For larger squares a team of archaeologists will line up on one side of the square and walk across the square in a line. If they are directly associated with clusters of datable artifacts one can assume an association. and then discard them to the confusion of future archaeologists. recorded and identified archaeological material in ploughed fields. however. more bags will be used. and analysis and plotting will take longer. If it is too biased. but one can rarely be certain. Given the way light shines on some artifacts. is it worth collecting? Having recovered. Given the nature of material in ploughed fields. Usually the squares are 20 m or 30 m square. A decision may be sensibly taken to ignore all this type of material. so prehistoric can be separated from historic or modern. they are often more visible from one direction than another. however. Any attempt at quantification is therefore pretty meaningless. like flint flakes. they may be important to indicate survival below the surface. Bones in a ploughed field are always likely to be biased towards big bones from sheep. or the quantification of the results becomes pointless. and against small fish and bird bones.
the more they are likely to have been moved either down slope or round or around in the soil. and as they involve interpolation may create somewhat spurious accuracy. unabraded pottery is unlikely to have moved far. Artifact spreads in plough soil usually. For gridded surveys a black circle of variable size to show quantity is often used. A pottery concentration. Contour maps of surface concentrations are an alternative way of plotting the data. necessarily mean absence of sites. The absence of artifact spreads does not. Plough soils tend to be of more or less regular depth. Either actual numbers of different classes of material can be plotted in some way. but graded shading or dot-density could also be used. but they are slightly more complex to produce. depending on the type of plough. The more abraded they are. buried archaeology is unlikely to be at a constant depth. Fresh. Thick lines will clearly show concentrations of artifacts while thin lines show just a thin spread. The absence of artifacts does not necessarily indicate the absence of sites. For line surveys. and the presence of artifacts at a particular spot in the landscape does not necessarily mean the presence of human activity of that date in the past at that spot.form to show variations in distribution. as the term ‘site’ has been used to cover every type of activity area. A separate problem is interpreting the nature of the artifact spread. therefore. If the archaeology is below this depth it may simply not appear in the plough soil. indicate activity at that spot or further uphill. so if it is shallower at one point on the site it may appear in the plough soil. Movement of objects can be partly determined by the state of the objects. artifacts’ will tend to move down slopes and accumulate in low spots like dry valleys. soil and crop to be planted. densities of artifacts can be plotted by regular variation of thickness of line. Also. for example. If the landscape is undulating. while where it is deeper it will not. a midden or rubbish . or a mean can be calculated for the whole survey area and distributions above the mean plotted. The interpretation of field-walking data must always be approached with extreme caution. could represent a settlement site. however. a kiln site. A gap in the line or a thin line would indicate either no artifacts of a particular class or none above the background mean.
and then recorded and interpreted. parallel transect lines could be walked across the landscape. Location of such sites should be approached in a systematic way to ensure area coverage. At the very least the record form should include a unique reference number. while small abraded sherds may represent manuring or simply erosion downslope from a midden. For a variety of reasons. Unplugged areas may contain archaeological sites surviving as earthworks or stone settings. and therefore earthworks only survive in woodland.dump adjacent to a settlement. cartographic reference. Many small shreds mixed with other artifacts’ and ecofacts may represent a settlement area. Again the state of the artifact may help. land use. If there are many misshapen sherds (wasters) in the assemblage it may represent a kiln site or waste dump. its position would be recorded and a simple record form filled in. or stone settings. Thereafter more and more detail can be recorded. Firstly the site has to be located. For example. Ground surveys may therefore be required both to locate sites and to fill in details of sites recognized on aerial photographs. If the whole area to be surveyed is unplugged. angular pot sherds with other rubbish could represent a midden. but the interpretation of the data must always be within the local landscape context and treated with extreme caution. and whenever an unnatural-looking hump or bump is seen. or artifacts’ spread together with manure over fields well away from a settlement. parkland or slopes too steep for arable. soil type. or stone setting located. depending on the nature of the survey. altitude. Many large. Your survey design would . date and condition of site. not all earthworks or stone settings will show up on aerial photographs – or if they do. aspect and orientation of site could be recorded. Survey of sites surviving as humps and bumps. however. Generally one is not dealing with entirely unplugged or undeveloped landscapes. requires two main elements. Not all the landscape is. however. and type. These are more likely to show up on aerial photographs than will scatters of artifacts’ in ploughed fields. ploughed. Field walking is therefore an excellent field survey method. geology. nature reserves. they may not be recognizable. site name (if there is one).
This is a highly skilled process requiring an archaeological surveyor as distinct from a straight topographical surveyor. Having located an earthwork site. The interpretative survey involves looking at relationships between humps and bumps and dips. Which bit of the pattern was their first? Which bit overlies the earlier features? How were they modified through time? As with the interpretation of aerial photographs. Of course. Earthwork surveys produced by some topographical surveyors without the required archaeological knowledge. They may also be overlain by a later bank for example. geophysical surveying is a non-destructive method of site investigation. so has obvious advantages over excavation when dealing with the finite archaeological resource. the surveyor is looking for identifiable patterns and relationships to build up sequences from the palimpsests left in the landscape. recording each change in direction with a prismatic compass. Even large pits and ditches could be so well filled that they simply do not show on the surface.therefore have to be geared to the specific landscape. . often look like patterns of railway embankments. One way to ‘look’ into the ground without resorting to excavation is to use the wide range of geophysical techniques now available to field archaeologists. A skilled archaeological surveyor undertaking an interpretative survey can often work out the sequence of development of a site without any damaging resort to excavation. not all archaeological features will show as humps or dips in the land surface. Like all remote sensing techniques. although no doubt perfectly accurate. You may have to zigzag through woodland. Geophysical survey Geophysical surveying techniques are part of the battery of remote sensing techniques which include aerial photography and satellite images. it can either remain as a dot on a distribution map or be subjected to an interpretative survey.
Much of this affected material will accumulate in pits and other features and so be detectable with a magnetometer. for a variety of reasons remain of more restricted use. Burning. Concentrations of iron oxides can be increased through general occupation activities resulting from burning and organic decomposition. road surfaces and the bedrock have a higher resistance than features filled with soil. Solid features like walls. solid materials will resist more than soil deposits. These variations in electrical resistance can be measured with a suitable meter. although the physics and practice are more complex. This technique records minor variations in the earth’s magnetic field. Other techniques like ground-penetrating radar. Obviously . and patterns of variable resistance can be recorded. The principles behind resistivity are relatively straightforward. where it affects clay. which hold water. Therefore if you pass an electric current through the ground. like pits and ditches. conduct electricity more than natural rocks like chalk. so soil silting into a ditch will locally affect the earth’s magnetic field. is particularly significant. Many types of human activity will cause such variations in what will finally become archaeological features. On firing. sandstone and granite. Basically soils. acoustic reflection and thermal sensing. clay becomes magnetic and retains the direction of a magnetic field of the earth at the time of firing.Figure: Geophysical survey Resistivity surveying remains perhaps the most important technique available to archaeologists. Also topsoil contains more magnetic oxides than subsoil. The second major geophysical technique used by field archaeologists is magnetometry. closely followed by magnetometry.
measures the absolute value of the strength of the earth’s magnetic field. The fluxgate gradiometer is now the most frequently used type of magnetometer as its cycle of operation takes only one-thousandth of a second compared with five seconds required by a proton magnetometer. will create problems. The spinning protons generate a voltage in the coil which varies with the local magnetic field. To rectify this problem the fluxgate gradiometer was developed which allows continuous output. The electronics in the gradiometer subtract one bottle reading from the other. a magnetic plan of the site can be built up which will represent the buried features. hydrogen protons in a liquid (water or alcohol) are aligned with the axis of a magnetic coil wound around the liquid’s container. igneous geology. however. and more local problems like iron fences. Firstly. As they come out of saturation. and so if readings are taken at regular intervals over the site. The proton magnetometer. The development of the gradiometer partly overcomes these problems by having two bottles. to produce surface readings. It is these variations in strength of magnetic field that are measured on a meter and can be recorded on a data logger. They are then allowed to realign themselves to the earth’s magnetic field. making it ideal for rapidly scanning large areas of ground. Proton magnetometers and gradiometers both have the problem of discrete readings with no information recorded between reading spots. Proton magnetometer is based on the frequency with which hydrogen protons spin. It does this by having alloy strips which are driven in and out of magnetic saturation. both of which record the ‘big’ magnetic fields but only the lower one records the shallower features strongly. overhead cables. the rising and setting of the sun. The fluxgate gradiometer is a compact. which is affected by magnetic fields.anything magnetic like iron fences. so the results have to be filtered for the effects of geological background. The digital data recorded by both resistivity meters and fluxgate . external magnetic fields can enter giving electric pulses proportional to the strength of the magnetic field. or even magnetic bits of the operator ’s clothing like metal zips. lightweight instrument which measures magnetic intensity on a meter. The protons spin during this process and the frequency at which they do this is proportional to the earth’s magnetic field.
The area to be surveyed is gridded. dot density has been the most commonly used way of showing patterns graphically. carrying out a range of domestic and farming activities. This process is usually done by computer. grey-scale plots can print dots of variable size on a fine regular grid. Magnetometers are essentially used to locate buried features and burnt areas. by ploughing for example. deposit about 124 kg of phosphorus into the landscape annually. Instead of concentrations of dots of the same size. This technique is particularly important where occupation evidence survives only in topsoil. As most waste is likely to be disposed of at or near centers of activity. With the development of laser printers. Generally this would be done where there is some other hint at human activity like aerial photographic evidence or a pottery scatter. From the 1960s until relatively recently. showing patterns of subsurface features. All living things absorb phosphorus and then discard it as organic waste. producing a ‘plan’ rather like a soil-mark aerial photograph. Even more startling are three-dimensional-looking images produced by draping geophysical surveys over 3-D topographic models of the same area h A technique related to the use of magnetometers in the field is the technique of magnetic susceptibility. either in situ or having eroded down slopes Chemical s u r v e y An entirely different way of locating human activity in the landscape is by locating changes in soil chemistry resulting from human occupation. then a soil .gradiometers can be transferred into graphics. by tracing concentrations of phosphorus (unless naturally occurring) in theory one can trace human activity areas. Computers can filter the dots to enhance features. Variations in resistivity or magnetic field are represented by denser or less dense concentrations of dots. It has been calculated that 100 people. a new graphic technique became possible. If the archaeology has been clearly brought up to the surface. whereas magnetic susceptibility locates occupation areas because of the enhancement of susceptibility by the use of an area by humans.
others based on new scientific techniques. The reaction is stopped after two minutes by placing the filter paper in a 50 per cent solution of sodium citrate in water. Essentially. without resorting to the destructive process of digging into sites. such information can be imported into a GIS and subjected to a wide range of comparative analyses at any appropriate scale. They also need to be experts in the use of documentary evidence and aerial photographs. means that no excavation work . Conclusion Location and characterization of sites is best achieved using several detection methods. Test pits and excavation can provide ‘ground truth’. Back at the survey base or laboratory. These skills have important implications for the process of excavation. some of them traditional and subjective. The organically-derived phosphates do not leach out of the soil and remain more or less where originally deposited. 50 mg of soil is placed on filter paper and a couple of drops of ammonium molybdenate in hydrochloric acid are added. and degraded lime mortar may be traced by higher concentrations of calcium locally in the soil. which is directly proportional to the amount of phosphorus in the soil. magnetic.sample is collected in each grid square. besides understanding geology and geography. resistivity and GPR can all provide differing but highly complementary information on buried structural remains. Together. A dilute solution of ascorbic acid is made by adding 0.5 g to 100 ml of distilled water. the deeper the blue. the more phosphorus there is present in the soil. Each sample of about 300 g is carefully bagged and labeled. Fortunately for survey purposes. Our ability to investigate ancient landscapes and environments. This can be assessed very approximately by eye. other chemicals like copper and lead may be associated with specific types of human activity. Archaeological fieldworkers now require many skills. Although phosphorus is perhaps one of the clearest and easiest chemical residues to locate in the soil. becomes fixed in the soil. having been released from the waste. An alternative is to use an auger to take a deeper soil sample Phosphorus which entered the soil with organic waste. for instance in the right circumstances aerial photographs. so are lost out of the soil (to pollute streams and rivers). most modern phosphates used in agriculture do not fix in this way. or more accurately by using a colorimeter. from which two drops are added to the sample after thirty seconds. A blue ring then develops on the filter paper.
.should ever be carried out until a programme of fieldwork a n d documentary research has been completed. It is impossible to ask valid questions about an individual site without understanding its place in the historical and natural environment.
New perspectives in archaeology. Brian D. J. 1990. & P. M. B. A complete manual of field archaeology. 1989. New York: Harper Collins. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. Seeing beneath the soil: prospecting methods in archaeology. G. Walnut Creek. London: Academic Press. A.. S. R. L. V. Clark. 1997. London: Croom Helm. London: Batsford. Joukowsky.) Los Angeles: University of California. Dillon (ed. Dillon. Addyman. Coles. 1986. . Brian D.337–42.References Binford. C. R. A. P. Experimental archaeology. 1979. & L. The archaeological f i e l d vehicle. Conyers. & D. B. M.. Ground-probing impulse radar: an experiment in archaeological remote sensing in York. Antiquity 63. In the beginning: an introduction t o archaeology. California: Altamira Press. In Practical archaeology: field and laboratory techniques and archaeological logistics. Current s c i e n t i f i c techniques in archaeology. Parkes. Goodman. Chicago: Aldine.. 1991a. Binford. Stove. 1980. 1968. Fagan. Ground-penetrating radar. 1989.
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