Here is How Archaeologists Excavate Sites

Contrary to how it may seem in movies and television shows, archaeological excavations do not consist of frantically digging in the desert while fighting Nazis or chasing aliens. What they do involve is precision: precision, detailed measurements, patience, painstaking documentation, and plenty of banter.

Archaeological excavation methods are the topic of this article for StoneAgeMan. While I include some textbook information, however, much of the article deals with my personal experiences on excavations. Hopefully, this will provide some idea of what it is actually like to work on an archaeological dig.

Here is a short preview of the article, with the full version being on StoneAgeMan:


Here is How Archaeologists Excavate Sites

An archaeologist filling out paperwork at an excavation.
Image by JamesDeMers from Pixabay.

Previously on StoneAgeMan, we discussed how archaeologists find sites. But, once a promising site has been identified, how do archaeologists excavate it? Here, we will detail the process, which more often than not, involves a lot more than just digging.

First, no two excavations are the same: how one unearths a site will depend on a host of factors that might include the area’s terrain; funding, time and crew-size constraints; and the guiding research questions. However, there are two overarching excavation styles called the Wheeler box-grid method and open-area excavation.

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