1. Education

How to Surface Survey a Cultivated Field
From your Archaeology Guide

Surface survey is an essential part of many a field season. Here's how the pros do it.

Difficulty Level: Average    Time Required: all day


Here's How:
  1. Dress appropriately for the weather--but always wear a hat and good boots.
  2. Pick a cultivated field where the crop is in rows and just barely above the ground.
  3. Carry a bundle of red tile flags (3 foot long wires with red flagging tape on the top).
  4. Clasp your hands together behind your back.
  5. Lean forward slightly like Groucho Marx. 
  6. Point your eyes onto the ground about 10-12 inches ahead of your feet.
  7. Start walking slowly. 
  8. Make a sweeping movement with your head, like an elephant, back and forth, pointing your eyes rather than moving them.
  9. When you spot an artifact, don't pick it up! Put a red tile flag next to it. 
  10. Finish the row and turn around and start the next one.
  11. Finish the entire field or area, row by row by row.
  12. Map the field, plotting the artifact concentrations by the clustering of the red flags.


Related Information:




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