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SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: area excavation; open-area excavation, extensive excavation CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The opening up of large horizontal areas for excavation, used especially where single period deposits lie close to the surface.
In this method of excavation, the full horizontal extent of a site is cleared and large areas are open while preserving a CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: An excavating technique that exposes the vertical face of a site.
On multi-period sites, however, it calls for much more meticulous recording since the stratigraphy is revealed one layer at a time.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: The systematic and scientific recovery of cultural, material remains of people as a means of obtaining data about past human activity.
A permanent record of the whole process should be kept: plans, drawings, notes, photographs. For years, excavation was regarded as merely a method of collecting artifacts.
Pitt Rivers in Britain and Petrie in the Near East first placed emphasis on evidence rather than artifacts, not what is found but where it was found relative to the layers of deposit (stratigraphy) and to other objects (association) -- the context.
After an initial plan has been made of all visible features before excavation, digging proceeds according to the dictates of the site: sections may be taken across areas of feature intersection, or across individual features.
This type of excavation is designed to reveal the vertical and temporal dimensions within an archaeological deposit -- the depth, sequence, and composition of buried data.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: stripping excavations CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A method of excavating whereby a large horizontal area is dug instead of a deep vertical one; clearing excavations in which large areas of overburden are removed to reveal horizontal distributions of data without leaving balks.
It is the excavation of as large an area as possible without the intervention of balks and a grid system.
This technique allows the recognition of much slighter traces of ancient structures than other methods.