Archaeological Survey (Archaeologists Toolkit)

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It was originally designed for mountain climbers to hold their ropes. It has some nifty features on it. My particular favorite is a system of loops at the top of the inside: I use them to attach carabiners to, and then hang equipment from the carabiners. Instead, it hangs, evenly distributed, throughout the entire pack. Not only does this mean things are easy to get to, but it also means that the weight is distributed throughout my entire back, making it easier to carry.


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  • Archaeologist's Toolkit!

Some of my favorite tools include my trowels, which I received during my field school. Some tools I love for their practicality, such as the duct tape or the WD to keep my tools from rusting, or some of the surprises sham-wows work. Towels, hats, sweat bands, hydration packs…I even carry a bag of salt with my lunch to replenish what I lose. The tools you carry are also going to reflect where you excavate. I used to dig in Michigan, so foot and hand warmers have become a mainstay in my pack, as have an extra pair of gloves.

What do Archaeologists do?

Archaeologists dig a shovel test pit as part of a site survey. Then archaeologists excavate the site using trowels, shovels, and various other tools. They carefully remove dirt and note the precise location of any artifacts found. The context of the artifact is just as important as the artifact itself, so the artifacts are always carefully mapped and documented.

Archaeologist using a trowel.

Complete Archaeology Tool Catalogue

The dirt removed from the site is screened to search for any small artifacts that may have been missed during the initial excavation. Archaeologists with the National Park Service Screening. Archaeologists also look for features while excavating a site. A feature is evidence of a human activity that is not movable, and usually has a vertical component. An aspect of a site that is only horizontal, such as a road, is not a feature.

An example is a frequently used fire ring will leave evidence behind in the soil, but it cannot be moved with the occupants. Evidence of fires uncovered at an archaeological site-a feature.

What tools do archaeologists use?

After archaeologists have excavated the site completely, or to the extent the project planned, they fill the site back in and take the artifacts to be analyzed. They are analyzed and classified based on the research questions of the archaeologist. An artifact, pottery, that has been photographed for documentation-A scale is often included to show the size of the artifact. The artifacts are grouped with other artifacts of the same type.

A type can be based on a variety of characteristics such as function or style. A group of artifacts that are all projectile point type.

The model can be used to structure a training programme for career entry level employees, employees transferring between specialisms or employees moving between junior levels in the first few years of their career. Organisations that have structured training according to the CIfA model include national organisations, commercial companies of all sizes, local authorities, independent charities and one-man-bands.

For a full list of participating organisations click here. Structured training been offered in over 50 areas of archaeological practice during this roll-out.

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Complete Archaeology Tool Catalogue

For each opportunity, a structured Training Plan identifies the particular skills to be taught, the required outcomes of training, the sort of support required for the training to be effective and the sorts of activities to be undertaken by the trainee through which training will be delivered. These a re available below for you to use and adapt. Download your copy of CIfA'S An introduction to providing career entry training in your organisation here.


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CIfA has developed a guidance sheet which defines what is meant by a training plan, along with some ideas as to how to develop one. Developing a plan is an opportunity to identify the skills that your organisation needs in order to underpin the services you currently offer and any future services you may wish to offer.

In addition, a plan will identify current and potential future skills gaps which the organisation can then respond to. Areas of archaeological practice for which training plans have been developed at early career level are listed below. Click on the link to view the training plan. If the training plan you want isn't yet available please contact us at admin [at] archaeologists.

What does CIfA do?

Archaeological archives. Archaeological excavation and supervision. Archaeological Fieldwork. Archaeological geophysics. Archaeological survey. Archive archaeology.

Building recording. Building research and survey.

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