1995 TOP SECRET TRICK PAGE
When an excavation is done
it reveals TWO dimensions about the past.
The horizontal (sideways)
excavation reveals the site
as it was at a time in the
For example, the horizontal
dimension shows the
house floors with furnishings
like benches and
things like hearths and
The vertical (up and down)
excavation shows the sequence of change over time at the site. From this,
archaeological detectives can figure out the relationships between one
time period to another. For example, if I excavate down in a trench
and find housefloors I may be able to tell if people had lived at that
site all the time and never left for hundreds of years or if people had
come and gone over time, leaving the area unlived in for periods of time.
I know, I know, this is
a bit tricky to understand but be patient,
I know that you'll get it!
We can excavate both horizontally
and vertically on a
site but we use different
techniques for each one.
In this Top Secret Trick
I'll explain the open area system for
horizontal excavation -
be on the look out for the other one
in another trick section
Open Area Excavation
- for Horizontal Excavation
This involves uncovering
the site layer by layer by layer.
This is important
in sites where the horizontal dimension is more important than the vertical
one, for example, where structural (building) remains are rare. When
archaeologists do this, they make sure that the vertical dimension is recorded
on paper, but it is never seen or photographed because the soil is taken
away layer by layer.
An easy way to picture an
open area excavation is to imagine
that you have a big cake.
The top layer is icing, then
underneath that is chocolate
cake, underneath that is more
fudge icing and then underneath
that is more cake.
If you eat your way from
top to bottom, you are doing an
open area excavation on
This is how all good archaeologists
eat cake !!! (No, I am just joking)
O.K. So, did you get the
If yes, give yourself a
big pat on the back !!!