An archeologist will utilize a college education or degree that has prepared them for work in the field. There are other characteristics that one must possess in order to effectively approach an excavation. For instance, a certain level of cultural sensitivity becomes necessary. Knowledge of how to appropriately pursue a dig and conduct the process is a must so that no harm comes to artifacts or the surrounding site.
What is an Excavation?
Archeologists are best known for conducting excavations, which deal with the “exposure, processing, and recording” of the remains connected to the past. Often, those who are involved often refer to this practice as a ‘dig’. When it comes to excavations, there are two basic kinds to consider that are used in the modern world: research and development-led.
Research excavation takes place when there is an allotted amount of time and resources that are available for an archeologist to take advantage of. There is no rush to the project. The main objective for this kind of excavation is to preserve the artifacts and hidden information that such projects produce. A development-led excavation is pursued when professionals in the world of archeology deem a site threatened by the construction of a building or other developmental project. Time plays a significant role in this type of dig. At times, “rescue archeology” becomes of importance.
Brief Introduction to the Archeological Process
Before entering the ground at a site , an archeologist must first survey the scene. Archeologists work a site by creating a grid that consists of squares that are all the same size. This will also help categorize and record artifacts and progress during a dig. It makes it much easier to pinpoint the next course of action when following a grid.
When a grid has been prepared , the topsoil of the site is removed, using trowels, shovels, and picks. During the process, possible artifacts are detected by looking at the dirt by using a screen. Rocks and excess dirt are separated from objects like bone, pottery, and other items that are used to identify cultures.
When an artifact (or artifacts) are found , the archeologist will place items in various Ziploc bags , marked according to the layer of soil they were uncovered in. Artifacts are also drawn into the graph paper in detail so that it will correspond to the actual site (by grid pattern). This is why the squares come in handy during excavation. A typical dig will see an archeologist continuing further down until they reach what is called ‘subsoil,’ which is dirt-like clay or sand.
Be on the lookout for an article titled “The Different Kinds of Archeology” to learn more about the various approaches that archeologists will undertake to uncover keys to the past. Some of the topics of discussion will include historical archaeology, experimental archeology, industrial archeology, medieval archeology, and forensic archeology.