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Excavation Methods

Publication Of Findings

Because excavation permanently destroys at least a portion of a site as a source of archeological data for future generations, it is essential that the results of an excavation be promptly published in a form that is readily accessible. Current practice is to publish only portions of the complete field report, which is based on analyses of physical, biological, stratigraphic, and chronological data. But many archeologists are of the opinion that the public, which is widely viewed as having collective ownership of all matters relating to the past, has a right to view even unpublished field records and reports about a site.

Further Reading


Fagan, Brian M., ed. The Oxford Companion to Archeology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Maloney, Norah. The Young Oxford Book of Archeology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Nash, Stephen Edward, ed. It's about Time: A History of Archaeological Dating in North America. Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Press, 2000.

Sullivan, George. Discover Archeology: An Introduction to the Tools and Techniques of Archeological Fieldwork. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1980.

Randall Frost


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Electrical resistivity

—A remote sensing technique that determines the character of subsurface sediments or the presence of objects based on variations in the resistance to an electrical current passing through the subsurface.


—An instrument designed to measure the strength of a magnetic field; magnetometers detect the presence of metallic objects that distort Earth's magnetic field.


—The study of layers of rock or soil, based on the assumption that the oldest material will usually be found at the bottom of a sequence.


—An optical instrument consisting of a small telescope used to measure angles in surveying, meteorology, and navigation.

Topographic map

—A map illustrating the elevation or depth of the land surface using lines of equal elevation; also known as a contour map.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Evolution to FerrocyanideExcavation Methods - Excavation Strategies, Mapping And Recording, Publication Of Findings