Field Processing: While in the field, archeologists make decisions about artifact collection and sampling of cultural and natural remains and sediments. All chronometric techniques present statistically measurable uncertainty about the dates determined by the techniques. The two-sigma range is more likely to be correct, but provides a much broader date range than the one-sigma error term.
For example, what size screen should be used to sieve the dirt removed from an excavation unit? The analysis of materials collected from archeological sites, is of course, the root of much of the information we now know about prehistory. This uncertainty, or error, is presented as either one-sigma (67% confidence that the date range within one standard deviation is correct) or two-sigma (95% confidence that the date range within two standard deviations is correct). Discussed below are common chronometric dating techniques employed in the Southwest: Although it is common for many archeologists to use the term absolute dating for chronometric techniques as well as those techniques producing absolute single-year dates, in this discussion, dendrochronology is the only dating technique considered absolutely accurate, or absolute, because of its ability to produce a single calendrical date.
Archeologists use a wide variety of methods to extract information from cultural and natural remains related to the human past.
These methods are employed to first locate and identify sites, features, and artifacts, and then to reconstruct the temporal associations, cultural histories, functions, and meanings of the same archeological material.
Survey: Survey accounts for the initial in-field investigations of a region, and aims to record artifacts, features, and site locations of archeological interest.
An archeological survey is typically accomplished by a crew of people systematically walking transects, or linear, evenly spaced lines, across an area of interest, although aerial inventories are also possible with the use of small planes, helicopters, and even satellite imagery.
Excavation: Archeologists excavate buried cultural remains to both gather information about past human behavior and to preserve and protect cultural resources from destruction, either from human or natural processes. Discussed below are the three major types of dating used in archeology – relative dating, chronometric dating, and absolute dating – and some of the more popular methods employed in each general category.
Archeological excavations, or “digs,” are conducted using very specific methods and rigorous vertical and horizontal spatial controls. Relative dating in archeology determines the age of cultural material in relation to other cultural material, but does not produce precise dates.
Some important aspects of archeological excavations include the removal of overburden, or the soils overlying the cultural materials, either by hand or machine; photographic and cartographic documentation of artifacts, structural components, features, soil types and changes, and other indications of human presence within a site; careful screening or sieving of soils to ensure all important artifacts and ecofacts are collected from the site; and careful documentation of field procedures, personnel, and equipment. For examples, one ceramic type may be determined older than another may, allowing the types to be placed in a temporal sequence relative to each other.Typically, excavation takes three forms: monitoring, testing, and data recovery. Archeologists practice many types of relative dating, some of the more common of which are discussed below: Chronometric dating techniques provide a range of dates that are relative, not absolute.Others, such as radar-based techniques, can penetrate cloud cover, forest canopies, and the ground to reveal materials and landscapes otherwise invisible from the air. (before common era/common era), corresponds to the standard calendrical system, whereas B.Several important types of remote sensing used in archeology are discussed below. P., when used in the context of reporting radiocarbon assays, measures dates in radiocarbon years from the ‘present’ of 1950.In the Southwest, and particularly in CRM, there are several defined types of survey: Remote Sensing: Remote sensing in archeology employs a wide variety of aerial and satellite imaging, as well as radar, sonar and lidar, to build landscape images useful for recognizing archeological materials not visible to ground crews.
Many remote sensing techniques rely on portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, such as infrared, that humans are typically unable to see.