Maricopa Community Colleges  ASB231   19914-99999 

Official Course Description: MCCCD Approval: 2-26-1991

ASB231  1991 Summer I – 1991 Summer II

L+L  4.0 Credit(s)  8.0 Period(s)  6.8 Load  Acad

Introduction to Archaeological Field Methods

Excavation of an archaeological site; recording and interpreting data collected during the field experience. Overview of the cultures concerned; contemporary issues in archaeology.

Prerequisites: None.

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MCCCD Official Course Competencies:


ASB231  1991 Summer I – 1991 Summer II

Introduction to Archaeological Field Methods



Describe the fundamental tools and techniques used in archaeological excavation. (I)


List on-site safety measures. (I)


Discuss and compare the types of dating methods available for the site involved. (I)


Describe the culture investigated, based on the excavation and on previously published information (I)


Compare the culture excavated to another culture, either related or of the same time period. (I)


Identify issues affecting burial excavation. (II)


Explain the legal basis for the rights of indigenous peoples in reference to archeological sites, antiquity laws, and their effect on the use of public lands. (II)


Identify repository and storing procedures of artifacts. (II)


List basic archaeological responsibilities involved with excavations. (II)


Describe and identify datum point and provenience. (III)


Analyze factors that influence deposition. (III)


Prepare sample recoveries using a variety of techniques. (III)


Describe factors which determine artifact recovery. (III)


Identify such items as faunal remains, ceramics, lithics, organic materials, and shell artifacts. (III)


Identify basic excavation features such as living floors, fire pits, structural walls, post holes, entries, roofing materials. (III)


Prepare daily logs, specimen sheets, and other specialized forms. (III)


Draw, profile, and/or photograph features. (III)


Prepare a final site report, documenting all work completed. (IV)

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MCCCD Official Course Outline:


ASB231  1991 Summer I – 1991 Summer II

Introduction to Archaeological Field Methods


I. Introduction

A. Fundamentals of archaeology

1. Field techniques/laboratory

a. Notetaking

b. Establishing excavation units

c. Basic methodology

1. Tools

2. Provenience control

3. Decision-making strategies

d. Dating Methods

2. Safety

B. Introduction to the culture to be excavated

1. Typical structures built

2. Physical characteristics of the people

3. Types and characteristics of artifacts

4. Environmental constraints

5. Related or descended cultures.

II. Contemporary Issues in Archaeology

A. Rights of indigenous peoples

B. Antiquity laws

C. Use of public lands

D. Archaeological responsibilities

1. Research Planning

2. Site reports

3. Storing/repository

III. Field Experience

A. Provenience

1. Relative to datum point

2. Relative to recovered material

B. Deposition analysis

C. Sample recovery

1. Pollen (flotation)

2. Charcoal

3. Soil

4. Screening

5. Determinants

D. Excavation factors

1. Faunal analysis

2. Charcoal

3. Features

4. Perishables

5. Burials

E. Recordkeeping

1. Daily logs

2. Specimen sheets

3. Specialized forms

a. Profiles

b. Drawings

c. Photography

IV. Project Report

A. Summary of work

B. Interpretation of data

C. Synthesis

D. Storing artifacts


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