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Finding Archaeology Sites

By: Grahame Johnston - Updated: 11 Feb 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Archaeologist Desert Finding Sites

The archaeologist's office is usually buried deep underground. Every day, during the digging season, he or she heads off to work to uncover more remains of ancient cultures. Archaeological excavations cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to mount. Digging in the wrong place could be a very expensive mistake. So how do they know where to dig?

Primary Source Documents
Ancient books and manuscripts, even cuneiform tablets, can reveal a lot about lost civilisations. The most important source of information for the Biblical archaeologist is the Bible itself. Covering a period of more than 6000 years it precisely records the exact locations of many ruined and forgotten cities. Archaeologists have used the Bible's accuracy to locate and re-discover ancient towns, cities and once busy ports. Other texts have recorded trade transactions between neighbours where only one is still in existence. Text documents are the primary source of information.

Legends
There is often much truth hidden in the tall stories and legends of antiquity and a cautious study may provide a clue to a missing place. Most traditions and myths are founded on real people and places. Over time they become exaggerated and unbelievable. Sifting the embellishment from these traditions often leaves a factual narrative helpful to the archaeologist.

Ground Survey
Geographysical ground surveys are nearly always performed prior to an excavation establishing itself. These are conducted by skilled surveyors and provide the data necessary to conclude the feasibility of a settlement once being established there.

Existing Settlements
Quite obviously, if someone thinks it's good enough to live there now then why not in the past. Many of the best archaeological sites are buried under present day cities and cannot be unearthed. Rome, Jerusalem and Athens are prime examples. Most modern cities have excavation teams working in them usually in pockets throughout the city and often many metres below present street level.

Natural Features
Ancient sites for settlement were often chosen for reasons of safety and protection from raiders. Sources of water, rivers for transport and natural harbours were preferred. Defendable high hills or narrow passes were ideal areas where the occupants had control over trade routes and transport arteries. Ground survey teams will identify these features.

Aerial Photography
Spying out the lie of the land has never been easier than with aerial mapping. A collage of photographs can be laid out and the perceptive archaeologist can intuitively identify prospective buried sites by analysis of every geographic feature in the vicinity. Archaeologist's first used this technique after acquiring numerous photos from army recognisance flights during WW1.

Satellites
Topographical radar mapping is the latest tool in the archaeologist's kit bag. It is the unlikely combination of sketchy, inaccurate, ancient mapping and space-borne images. NASA initiated the use of sand-penetrating radar images in the Arabian Desert. These were taken by the space shuttle Challenger in 1984 and more recently by French satellites. This sky-high technology can look into the sand to locate the ruins of buried ancient settlements, obscured tracks of old caravan routes and sand drowned drinking wells. The image analysis is overlaid on to old maps of the region and land parties guide ground reconnaissance groups to test dig the location. Technological advances in hardware and software have allowed all manner of geographic information to be created.

It's true that you almost can't put a spade in the ground without turning up something ancient in Israel's Holy Land, but even there, as in all professional digs throughout the world, insightful planning is necessary to ensure the correct selection of an excavation site.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
@Sumith. Do you have a local museum that you could take it to? Alternatively you could try sending a photo to an organisation like the Natural History Museum.
ArchaeologyExpert - 22-May-15 @ 1:53 PM
I have found a Bone while digging a pit in my back yard. never seen before like that till now in my entire life. It looks like a giant Teeth/Bone of some big animal. dimension like 1 feet X 1 feet weighing like 5kgs. how will i find more about this thing ?
Sumith - 20-May-15 @ 5:04 AM
ITS NOT REALLYACOMMENT ITS MORE OF AQUESTIONDO YOU HAVE TO STUDY ARCHAEOLOGY TO BECOME A FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGISTS?
tc - 18-Mar-13 @ 12:20 AM
i have come to realize that for one to pursue something you have to think beyond the expectations of many and also be open minded that is never viewing things in one perspective. from the comments you have given it is really true that for one to become an archaeologist he or she must be ready to engage in research and other activities that ensures he is able to tackle any query relating to archaeology without hesitation but may i know about this ................................. what are the qualifications for one to become an archaeologist?
oty - 16-Mar-13 @ 6:21 AM
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