Digital is supplementing film now will eventually

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Digital is supplementing film now, will eventually replace it Video is also becoming more common, but as a supplement to still photos Screening Dirt has to be screened, because the excavators would never make any progress if they had to pick out all the artifacts by hand And they would miss a lot 1/4 inch, 1/8 inch, window screen… depends on the items present and the questions the project is addressing finer screening takes longer and a lot of small artifacts are not very informative tiny sherd fragments, tiny bits of unidentifiable shell and bone, etc. but some are, like rodent bones, seeds and other plant parts, fish scales, etc., so often only a sample of the soil is screened at a finer mesh Finer-grained study of soil samples Slow, expensive So usually just a sample of the soil is more carefully processed Like 8 liters from each stratum in each grid square Flotation gets the stuff that is too small to catch with screens in the field particularly important if the soil won't go through field screens very well, for example if it is wet and clumpy, or chunky and cementlike Separates even microscopic organic stuff that floats seeds, plant parts, leaves, some small bones, threads or bits of textile, charcoal, etc. this is the "light fraction" Cleans the heavy part, too, for easier sorting later the sample bucket has very fine screen in the bottom to allow powdery portion of soil to be washed away this "heavy fraction" is dried, then usually screened through geological screens (precision screens in known, small mesh sizes) to aid in separating the tiny artifacts from the fine gravel but this still comes down to carefully picking through the small stones to remove anything artificial Allows systematic study of tiny rodent bones and fishbones (both can tell you a lot about diet, storage, etc.) tiny stone flakes that could indicate use or sharpening of stone tools Dry fine screening In dry climates, wetting for flotation can damage organic materials dry seeds may "explode" when wetted And the soil is often loose, so it can pass through screens easily So soil samples may be screened through a series of geological screens Someone then has to go through the contents of each screen and pluck out the artifacts, bones, seeds, etc, and dump the little rocks At the finer grades, this is done under magnification, even a microscope Often the finer material is further subsampled, since there is just too much to separate Either way, someone has to then categorize all the tiny bits by material, species, etc.
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Introduction to Archaeology F 2002 / Owen: Digging square holes p. 7 This kind of analysis is very slow, expensive, and usually requires an expert for each kind of material General approach to a site map, surface collect, maybe do some geophysical prospecting (remote sensing) lay out and excavate some test pits or trenches to get an idea of what is below the surface based on the results from the test pits or trenches, maybe expand some to larger areas often using the profiles of the test pits or trenches as guides
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  • Fall '02
  • BruceOwen
  • Archaeology, Vertical direction, Digging square holes

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