Introduction to Archaeology
One of the key tasks in archaeology is localization and mapping. Maps are
necessary for understanding an area under investigation, for the localization
of discovered sites, and for the rediscovery of reported sites. This module
is designed to teach some of the basics.
Reading the Legend: Legends can usually be found along the lower
portion of a map, or alternatively along its margins. Legends contain important
information for understanding the map at hand.
The direction North (some including the four compass points).
It will also show the direction of magnetic north (the direction
a compass needle will point), which will vary from true north to some specified
A scale indicating distances. For example, 10 inches might represent
10 miles. These scales are often in both miles and kilometers, and allow
you to determine distances.
Often includes identification of feature symbols. Different symbols
might represent different sorts of roads. For example, 4 lane highways,
2 lane highways, dirt roads etc. Other symbols might indicate lakes, or
wet-lands, or certain types of buildings.
May include a color scale tied to topography, varying with heights
above the surface.
Note the Legend on the map provided in class.
What kind of information is provided on the legend of this map of the Kalamazoo
Two and Three dimensional maps : Some maps (often road maps)
depict the surface as two dimensional. However, some maps show the topography,
the dimension of height. These maps are called topographical maps. These
maps illustrate the topography through a series of lines. These lines represent
heights above sea level or a set point. Some of the lines have the height
above sea-level written on them. If the lines are more closely stacked
at one point, as compared with another, it suggests that incline is steeper.
Topographic maps allow you to envision the actual topography of a specific
area. Note the map given to you. Several points are noted. What is the
topographical situation in each one of those areas? Describe the area.
Note the various symbols. What can you say about these areas?
Localizing Sites and Determining Distances: Drawing sites
at their correct location once they are discovered is important for the
entire archaeological exercise. This is done in several different ways.
It can be done through the use of Global Positioning Systems, use of surveying
equipment (theodolite) or simple triangulation. Triangulation is also a
good way to locate yourself in the woods.
Triangulation: In this case we have taken several readings from a site
to various monuments. You will be given the readings. Using your map and
a protractor localize yourself. Discover the point from which you were
taking those readings. Then use the scales to discover how far you are
from the nearest city.
Drawing a Sketch Map: The class will be broken into four groups.
You will be shown a "site". You are to draw a sketch map of the site. Draw
the site so that someone who was not with you today could find it. Use
the "pacing" method to get scale.
How to Draw Sketch Map:
1)Determine Scale 2)Determine North 3)Select major landmarks 4)Select
a datum point (from which you might take other measurements) 5)measure
landmarks (in this case largely using the pace method) 6) record date and
initials 7)use symbols to show landmarks 8) make legend and label symbols
What You Will Need:
1)graph paper 2)pencil 3)ruler 4)compass 5)measuring tape (if you don't
have tape use pace method) 6)a protractor
An Example of a Sketch Map
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