Systematic, intensive surface collection

Charles L. Redman, Patty Jo Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Archaeologists would agree that the cultural debris lying on the surface of a site in some way reflects what is buried below. However, few attempts have been made to discover just how closely one can predict from detailed knowledge of surface distributions what he will find if he digs. In October and November, 1968, surface collections based on statistical sampling techniques were made at two mounds in Diyarbakir Vilayet, Turkey. The tabulated data were put into the form of contour maps. We find that study of these maps, singly or in combination as overlays, suggests numerous hypotheses that can be formulated much more precisely than those deriving from the usual intuitive method based on simple inspection of the site surface. Soundings were made to test some of the major hypotheses. The results of the soundings plus subsequent statistical analyses suggest that intensive, systematic surface collection is an extremely useful technique for determining where to dig. It is also highly productive of testable hypotheses relevant to the total interpretation of the site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-291
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Antiquity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 1970
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Museology


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