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Multi-scale and nested-intensity sampling techniques for archaeological survey

Journal of Field Archaeology

By:
, , , , and
https://doi.org/10.1179/jfa.2004.29.3-4.409

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Abstract

This paper discusses sampling techniques for archaeological survey that are directed toward evaluating the properties of surface artifact distributions. The sampling techniques we experimented with consist of a multi-scale sampling plot developed in plant ecology and the use of a nested-intensity survey design. We present results from the initial application of these methods. The sampling technique we borrowed from plant ecology is the Modified-Whittaker multiscale sampling plot, which gathers observations at the spatial scales of 1 sq m, 10 sq m, 100 sq m, and 1000 sq m. Nested-intensity surveys gather observations on the same sample units at multiple resolutions. We compare the results of a closely-spaced walking survey, a crawling survey, and a test excavation to a depth of 10 cm. These techniques were applied to ten 20 × 50 m survey plots distributed over an area of 418 ha near the Hudson-Meng Bison Bonebed in NW Nebraska. These approaches can significantly improve the accuracy of survey data. Our results show that high-resolution coverage techniques overlook more material than archaeologists have suspected. The combined approaches of multi-scale and nested-intensity sampling provide new tools to improve our ability to investigate the properties of surface records.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Multi-scale and nested-intensity sampling techniques for archaeological survey
Series title:
Journal of Field Archaeology
DOI:
10.1179/jfa.2004.29.3-4.409
Volume:
29
Issue:
3-4
Year Published:
2004
Language:
English
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s):
Fort Collins Science Center
Description:
15 p.
First page:
409
Last page:
423