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Results for excavation:

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arbitrary excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: Excavation by predetermined levels of a given thickness; used on sites or areas of sites without visible layering of the soil.
area excavation
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: extensive excavation, open excavation, open-area excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A method of excavation in which the full horizontal extent of a site is cleared and large areas are open while preserving a stratigraphic record in the balks between large squares. A gradual vertical probe may then take place. This method is often used to uncover houses and prehistoric settlement patterns. Area excavation involves the opening up of large horizontal areas for excavation, used especially where single period deposits lie close to the surface. It is the excavation of as large an area as possible without the intervention of balks and a grid system. This technique allows the recognition of much slighter traces of ancient structures than other methods. On multi-period sites, however, it calls for much more meticulous recording since the stratigraphy is revealed one layer at a time.
balk excavation method
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The excavation of an area of a site leaving vertical pillars or walls in place, thus allowing better correlation between excavations with predefined strata.
block excavation method
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The excavation of an area of a site without leaving intervening walls or pillars, which exposes contiguous areas of floors better than the balk method.
clearing excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: Any excavation designed primarily to reveal the horizontal and, by inference, functional dimensions of an archaeological site -- such as the extent, distribution, and patterning of buried data.
excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The systematic and scientific recovery of cultural, material remains of people as a means of obtaining data about past human activity. Excavation is digging or related types of salvage work, scientifically controlled so as to yield the maximum amount of data. It is the main tool of the archaeologist. The excavation of a site, however, involves the destruction of the primary evidence, which can never be recovered. Excavation should therefore never be undertaken lightly or without an understanding of the obligations of the excavator to the evidence he destroys. The first decision is whether to excavate a site at all, a question of particular interest when sites are being rapidly destroyed by farming methods and road and town building. The nature and scale of the undertaking is the next decision. If time and/or money is short, sampling of the site may be all that is possible. If a large-scale excavation is to be undertaken, the approach will be either area (open) excavation, grid method, quadrant method, rabotage, sondage, etc. Removal of the topsoil will either be carried out by hand or machine. After an initial plan has been made of all visible features before excavation, digging proceeds according to the dictates of the site: sections may be taken across areas of feature intersection, or across individual features. A permanent record of the whole process should be kept: plans, drawings, notes, photographs. Excavation is only the first part of the process. For years, excavation was regarded as merely a method of collecting artifacts. Pitt Rivers in Britain and Petrie in the Near East first placed emphasis on evidence rather than artifacts, not what is found but where it was found relative to the layers of deposit (stratigraphy) and to other objects (association) -- the context. The excavator can only justify his destruction if it is done with meticulous care so that every artifact, be it an ax or a posthole, is discovered and if possible preserved; if it is recorded accurately enough for all information to remain available after the site has disappeared; and if this record is quickly made available by publication. In short, excavation is the digging of archaeological sites, removal of the matrix, and observance of the provenience and context of the finds therein, and the recording of them in a three-dimensional way.
excavation director
CATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The person with overall oversight responsibility for an excavation.
excavation unit
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A basic area of horizontal control in an excavation; usually a test pit, trench, or a standard-sized square (grid).
horizontal exposure
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: horizontal (area) excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The excavation of a site to reveal its horizontal extent. Such an excavation is designed to uncover large areas of a site, especially settlement layouts.
lateral excavation
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: extensive excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The excavation or opening up of large areas so that subsurface features and architecture are broadly exposed.
open excavation
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: area excavation; open-area excavation, extensive excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The opening up of large horizontal areas for excavation, used especially where single period deposits lie close to the surface. It is the excavation of as large an area as possible without the intervention of balks and a grid system. This technique allows the recognition of much slighter traces of ancient structures than other methods. On multi-period sites, however, it calls for much more meticulous recording since the stratigraphy is revealed one layer at a time. In this method of excavation, the full horizontal extent of a site is cleared and large areas are open while preserving a stratigraphic record in the balks between large squares. A gradual vertical probe may then take place. This method is often used to uncover houses and prehistoric settlement patterns.
open-area excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A type of excavation in which large horizontal areas are opened, esp. where single-period deposits lie close to the surface.
penetrating excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: An excavating technique that exposes the vertical face of a site. This type of excavation is designed to reveal the vertical and temporal dimensions within an archaeological deposit -- the depth, sequence, and composition of buried data.
selective excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The archaeological excavation of parts of a site using sampling methods or carefully placed trenches but which do not uncover the entire site.
stratigraphic excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The layers of a site are excavated accroding to their natural shapes and dimensions and in the reverse order to that in which they were deposited.
strip method
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: stripping excavations
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A method of excavating whereby a large horizontal area is dug instead of a deep vertical one; clearing excavations in which large areas of overburden are removed to reveal horizontal distributions of data without leaving balks. This excavation layout is designed to investigate a large area for a modest outlay of effort. It has the disadvantage that no longitudinal section is available for study, only transverse ones, and that the site can never be seen in its entirety. It is a little used method with the introduction of technology.
test excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The initial examination of an archaeological site with the purpose of locating deposits and developng an excavation strategy.
total excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: Complete excavation of an archaeological site, confined mainly to smaller sites, such as burial mounds or campsites.
vertical exposure
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: vertical excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: Excavation of a site to reveal its vertical extent, with relatively little breadth. This type of excavation is undertaken to establish a chronological sequence, normally covering a limited area.
wet-site excavation
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: Technique of excavating waterlogged sites by pumping water through hoses to spray the dirt away and expose archaeological features and artifacts.

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