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