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


These are the activities which are commonly thought of when a person thinks "dig," the slow and at-times tedious removal of layers of soil, rocks, and so forth, which may hide the archaeological items of interest. Think of a 3-dimensional pattern of artifacts suspended within the soil beneath your feet. The archaeologist strips away the soil matrix to reveal the associations between artifacts, some of which may represent differing depths and cultural time periods stratified one on top of each other.

During this process, a Marshalltown or masonry trowel is used, since its flat blade is best able to remove thin layers of soil and leave artifacts undisturbed when encountered.

When artifacts are uncovered, their depth and precise location and orientation are documented, with photographs and drawings used to supplement each other and to ensure accuracy.

Even when little of interest is apparent during this process, nothing is taken for granted: soil which has been removed is collected and sent over to the Screening area, where it will be sifted in hopes of finding artifacts which the eyes of the excavator may have missed.