An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric or historic or contemporary), and which has been, or may be, investigated using the discipline of archaeology and represents a part of the archaeological record. Sites may range from those with few or no remains visible above ground, to buildings and other structures still in use.
An archaeological site with human presence dating from 4th century BC,
Fillipovka, South Urals, Russia. This site has been interpreted as a
Beyond this, the definition and geographical extent of a "site" can
vary widely, depending on the period studied and the theoretical
approach of the archaeologist.
It is almost invariably difficult to delimit a site. It is sometimes
taken to indicate a settlement of some sort although the archaeologist
must also define the limits of human activity around the settlement.
Any episode of deposition such as a hoard or burial can form a site as
well. Development-led archaeology undertaken as cultural resources
management has the disadvantage (or the benefit) of having its sites
defined by the limits of the intended development. Even in this case
however, in describing and interpreting the site, the archaeologist
will have to look outside the boundaries of the building site.
According to Jess Beck in “How Do Archaeologists find sites?”
the areas with a large number of artifacts are good targets for future
excavation, while areas with small number of artifacts are thought to
reflect a lack of past human activity.” Many areas have been
discovered by accident. The most common person to have found artifacts
are farmers who are plowing their fields or just cleaning them up
often find archaeological artifacts. Many people who are out hiking
and even pilots find artifacts they usually end up reporting them to
archaeologist to do further investigation. When they find sites, they
have to first record the area and if they have the money and time for
the site they can start digging.
There are many ways to find sites, one example can be through surveys.
Surveys involve walking around analyzing the land looking for
artifacts. It can also involve digging, according to the
Archaeological Institute of America, “archaeologists actively
search areas that were likely to support human populations, or in
places where old documents and records indicate people once lived.”
This helps archaeologists in the future. In case there was no time, or
money during the finding of the site, archaeologists can come back and
visit the site for further digging to find out the extent of the site.
Archaeologist can also sample randomly within a given area of land as
another form of conducting surveys. Surveys are very useful, according
to Jess Beck, “it can tell you where people were living at different
points in the past.” Geophysics is a branch of survey becoming more
and more popular in archaeology, because it uses different types of
instruments to investigate features below the ground surface. It is
not as reliable, because although they can see what is under the
surface of the ground it does not produce the best picture.
Archaeologists have to still dig up the area in order to uncover the
truth. There are also two most common types of geophysical survey,
which is, magnetometer and ground penetrating radar. Magnetometry
is the technique of measuring and mapping patterns of magnetism in the
soil. It uses an instrument called a magnetometer which is required to
measure and map traces of soil magnetism. The ground penetrating
radar is a method that uses radar pulses to image the subsurface.
It uses electro magnetic radiation in the microwave band of the radio
spectrum, and detects the reflected signals from subsurface
There are many other tools that can be used to find artifacts, but
along with finding artifacts, archaeologist have to make maps. They do
so by taking data from surveys, or archival research and plugging it
into a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and that will contain
both locational information and a combination of various information.
This tool is very helpful to archaeologists who want to explore in a
different area and want to see if anyone else has done research. They
can use this tool to see what has already been discovered. With this
information available, archaeologists can expand their research and
add more to what has already been found.
Traditionally, sites are distinguished by the presence of both
artifacts and features. Common features include the remains of hearths
and houses. Ecofacts, biological materials (such as bones, scales, and
even feces) that are the result of human activity but are not
deliberately modified, are also common at many archaeological sites.
In the cases of the
Monte Albán, a Zapotec site in Oaxaca, Mexico
1 See also 2 References 3 Further reading 4 External links
Archaeological ethics Valletta Treaty List of archaeological sites sorted by country List of archaeological sites sorted by continent and age Site survey
^ JB. "How do archaeologists find sites?". Bone Broke. Retrieved
^ "Ask the Experts: AIA
Dunnell, Robert C., and William S. Dancey, 1983 The Siteless Survey: A Regional Scale Data Collection Strategy, in Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory 6:267-287. M.B. Schiffer, ed.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Archaeological sites.
The Archaeological Conservation Group of Icon, the Institute of
Conservation (UK Professional body)
Tambomachay Archaeological Site (360° view) – Cusco Peru