Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Graphing 101

   Today I learned a very important step in the process of fieldwork archaeology, and that was making a plan view and profile view graph of my unit. This is a very important step because, opposed to popular belief, archaeology has a specific mission. Archaeologists are not treasure hunters trying to find the coolest stuff (even though we do find cool stuff); part of the mission of archaeology is to understand the cultural aspects of people from the past through their cultural remains. One way to do this is to make a plan view graph. A plan view graph is a bird's eye view of a unit.
Sue completing her plan view on a framed grid
Profile wall
   To do this you take a plumb bob and rulers (or a framed grid) and you make a map of your unit that includes everything you, the archaeologist, sees. Why do this if we can just take a picture? The reason for mapping out your unit is because a picture is really just a reference. A camera cannot see some of the differences in soil color or disturbances. By mapping out the unit by hand you can include those details that a photo leaves out. Also, by mapping out the units there is a reference to look at when looking back at a dig site. Another aspect of archaeology I learned today was making a profile view graph. This graph maps out the depth of certain layers of soil that you may be working in. In my profile view I was mapping only layer A, but in my graph I noted when the soil changed color and drew that line in my graph. This is an important part of the process because it gives you a synopsis of what was happening in the unit as it was dug into and gives us a view of how the site was formed over time. 
  Signing off, 

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