chapter  6
38 Pages

Excavation

This is one kind of excavation – there are a great many others, examining places from the top of a mountain to the bottom of the sea, and we shall visit some of them presently. All of them have certain things in common. First a Design Stage in which all the hard decisions are made: How do we intend to recognise and define the strata and how shall we dissect them? What needs to be done, in which order, where to dig, at what size, to what level of precision, making which records? These questions are all answered by means of prior evaluation and the answers are incorporated into the Project Design (see Chapter 14 for more). Hopefully, the Project Design has been published or circulated, and everyone has (theoretically) had a chance to read it and comment on it, whether they be a local resident or a distant academic. So, by the time that the team assembles on the site, they (and everyone else) can answer the visitor’s question: “Why did you decide to dig there?” We should know where the edges of the excavation are to be, where the spoil heap will be, where the offices are, where the cars are to park, where visitors may go, what information is there for them, where is the nearest doctor and the nearest pub, and if there is a campsite, where that is. This is necessary for all excavations from the largest to the smallest, from the most leisurely research excavation to the most urgent evaluation.