Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ongoing work in the Faiyum - week 2

Faiyum Dig Diaries

We are currently continuing an intensive surface survey we began last year to understand the nature of the distribution of the archaeological record along the ancient lake edge. The landscape has undergone a lot of erosion since artefacts were originally discarded during the mid-Holocene, which means almost all of our archaeological record sits on the surface. This means we don’t need to excavate. While some may see this as a negative feature and unusual for archaeology, we believe this presents us with a tremendous advantage. Excavation is extremely time-consuming to gain a good understanding of large-scale horizontal distribution. Because we don’t have vertical depth we can cover hundreds of square meters very quickly, so rather than excavating a few 5x5m or 10×10 meter trenches, our survey area is 3km across! We can’t look at every single artefact or feature on the surface (however much we’d like to!), but our intention is to gain series of very high resolution ‘pictures’ across as much of the surface as we can.

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