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


When it's been confirmed, to the best of our ability, that the site should be excavated, it's necessary to ensure that we're able to precisely identify the location of any artifacts found.

In order to set the exact provenience of all artifacts and features found -- that is, to control both horizontal and vertical placement of items recovered -- a grid is set up using a surveyor's transit, compass, and tapes. A datum, or permanent marker from which all measurements are taken, is set up. North-South / East-West lines are established; and units, or squares, are developed in a checkerboard fashion. Each square in the grid is further divided into quadrangles, to refine the location of artifacts; and depth measurements are taken to control levels. All information is recorded in the site log.

A sampling strategy is developed to determine which units in our grid to excavate. Archaeological excavations are, above all, samplings of an area: an entire site is rarely excavated due to time and labor requirements. Archaeologists hope to recover a representative sample of the activities and artifacts that took place at the site.

Of all the grid areas, those which are to be excavated will have their ground cover ("duff") removed until the underlying layer of soil is revealed, and meticulous excavations can begin.