Archaeology is a field of study that involves the excavation, processing, and recording of archaeological remains. An excavation site is the area being studied, and it can range from one to several areas at a time. To determine the extent and characteristics of the archaeological potential in a given area, archaeologists conduct test excavations. In Harris County, archaeological research is scarce, and a comprehensive study of the entire county has never been conducted.
The phase is the easiest grouping for the layman to understand, as it involves an almost contemporary archaeological horizon that represents what you would see if you went back to a specific point in time. Single-context recording was developed in the 1970s and has become the de facto recording system in many parts of the world. It is especially suited to the complexities of deep urban archaeology and the stratification process. Staggering a site represents reducing it, either during excavation or after excavation, to contemporary horizons. Phased excavation is the process of stratigraphic elimination of archaeological remains so as not to eliminate contexts that are lower in the sequence before other contexts that have a later physical stratigraphic relationship with them, as defined in the law of superposition. The first archaeological excavation took place in the 6th century BC, when Nabonidus, the king of Babylon, excavated the floor of a temple that was thousands of years old.
The finds and artifacts that survive in the archaeological record are mainly recovered by hand and the context in which they survive is observed. The main difference between opening trenches and observing trenches is that test trenches are actively dug in order to reveal archaeological potential, while observation trenches are a superficial examination of trenches where the main function of the trench is not archaeological. For example, when a ditch is opened to install a gas pipeline on a road. The dating methodology is partly based on precise excavation and, in this sense, the two activities become interdependent. For example, the presence of an anomalous medieval pottery fragment in what was thought to be an Iron Age ditch could radically alter the way people think in situ about the right strategy to dig a site and avoid losing much information due to incorrect assumptions about the nature of the deposits that will be destroyed by the excavation process. Binford points out that all of these activities would have left evidence in the archaeological record, but that none of them would provide evidence for the main reason that hunters were in the area; to wait for prey.
Harris County Archaeological PreservationIn Harris County, archaeologists use several methods to study and preserve archaeological sites. Stratigraphic excavation involves studying how deposits are produced layer by layer.
The goal is to remove some or all of the archaeological deposits and elements in reverse order so as not to eliminate contexts that are lower in sequence before other contexts with later physical stratigraphic relationships. Machines are often used in what is called salvage or rescue archaeology, which takes place when there are financial or time pressures. This can serve to warn in advance of possible discoveries in the future since residual findings have been redeposited in more advanced contexts of sequence.
ConclusionArchaeologists employ various techniques to uncover valuable information about our past in Harris County. Test excavations are conducted to determine potential sites while stratigraphic excavation involves studying how deposits are produced layer by layer.
Machines are often used for salvage or rescue archaeology when there are financial or time pressures. By using these methods, archaeologists can uncover valuable information about our past.