Site Review Locate, Survey Site Test Excavations
Grid Layout Excavate, Level by Level Screening
What Do We Find? Lab Process, Report Writing Site Preservation


DIGS: SITE LOCATION AND GEO-PHYSICAL SURVEY

Once a site has been shown to be of potential archaeological interest, it must be examined to determine likely spots where excavation might prove successful.

Initial surveys may include non-destructive above-ground testing with geo-physical equipment, or below-ground shovel testing. For example, Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR), Electro-Magnetic Imaging (EMI), and Metal Detecting are regularly employed to determine site boundaries.

Nowadays, surveying is often complemented by Geographic Information Systems (GIS) maps produced by many towns, which include things like elevation, water pathways, and property lines.

Among the tools recently introduced into the archaeologist's arsenal is Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). Originally developed to help locate tunnels in Southeast Asia, it has proven useful to archaeologists testing for below-ground disturbances and structures without having to excavate. FOSA and OSA are assisted in this regard by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Department of Agriculture. NRCS provides the equipment and technicians to OSA as a public service. It is a wonderful working partnership between the federal and state governments to identify and preserve archaeological sits within the state.

In addition, Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements are also used, in conjunction with both surveying and GPR readings, to firmly fix the precise location of site locales and assist computer mapping data on GIS databases.

Once sites have been found where things of interest may lie buried, the places are plainly marked, so that test excavations (pits, borings, trenches, etc.) can be done, to further determine the usefulness of the site.