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


Before any site excavations can be undertaken, a potential site to be examined must first be identified as a place of archeological interest.

While apparently an obvious statement, such identifications aren't something one just goes out and "does." In many cases the identification of such a site is serendipitous. In Connecticut, the most well-known such example would be the 1966 unearthing of dinosaur tracks in Rocky Hill during excavation for a new state building. While of paleontological rather than archaeological or anthropological interest, it does illustrate the fact that big things can lie hidden until they're unexpectedly unearthed.

More commonly, sites are uncovered by farming and construction activities that yield artifacts. In other cases, it could be the result of the general public reporting findings. Or, perhaps, the simple weathering process of a riverbank eroding, exposing artifacts.

Researching historic areas of interest may include searches of town and historical society records. Discussions with local residents can be of particular value, with their knowledge of the local area providing the locations of potential sites.

In addition, above-ground historic structures of abandoned water-powered mills, houses, and even stone walls can provide information which can lead to the discovery of important underground archaeological sites ... as well of being of interest in their own right: Archaeology is not just about underground artifacts.

Many of the sites at which FOSA assists OSA are areas proposed for economic development (e.g., residential subdivisions, shopping malls, etc.). OSA reviews these projects for the municipal governments and makes recommendations based on site file and field reviews. Should OSA have a concern, and there are no regulations for archaeological surveys, FOSA may assist OSA in conducting archaeological fieldwork prior to construction activities.

If the site is to be examined, the owners' permission to excavate must be granted; or, if it's state- or town-owned land, the appropriate permits and approvals must be obtained.

Once these steps have been completed, FOSA members may become involved in the next step, that of Site Location and Geo-Physical Survey.