Shovel Test Pits: How does it Help Archaeologists?

Shovel test pits is considered one of the common and standard practices for conducting a comprehensive archeological survey. The main goal of this archeological survey method is to highlight the areas that need to be investigated deeply and with proper technology before archeologists conduct excavation on the site.

As soon as the researchers have discovered the area as a cultural site, they dig small holes along the grid, keeping the depth and distance the same. The method is most commonly used for the sites that feature a large volume of surface vegetation, mostly the area that are not plowed yet. The method allows them to sift the soil and collect artifacts. Besides, it helps them test the soil structure and get a better view of what the soil looks like in different holes. Put it in simple words, test pits allow archeologists and researchers to identify the structure of the subsurface.

A Popular Way to Decide Where and How Much to Dig

One of the many reasons why archeologists use shovel test pits for conducting an archeological survey is that the technique allows people to cover a large surface easily. The best part about the shovel pits is that the technique does not involve a lot of ground disturbance. It is a minimally-invasive procedure that gives you a clear picture of the target area, keeping the rest of the surface stable and in good condition.

Without disturbing the surrounding sites, STPs provide researchers with a clear picture of the areas that are viable for further research and testing. The shovel is used to dig a deep hole into the ground, collect artifacts, identify their structure, and record their quantity on the map. Later, the researchers use the map to understand the structure of the artifacts and determine the areas with clusters of these artifacts. These areas are identified as the potential sites that need further excavation and investigation.

How Does it Work?

The main purpose of shovel test pits is to identify the areas that need further excavation. If these methods did not exist, people would have no other option than to dig a large ground. Not only would it be a lot of work, but it can make the task super hectic and challenging for researchers. Plus, investigating multiple areas can be super time-consuming. Thanks to this GIS-based technology allows researchers to identify the sites that contain soils and artifacts of cultural importance. It makes it easier for researchers to know where they should dig and how deep the area needs to be excavated for the best artifacts.

GIS has been a prominent technology in archaeology. The industry has seen significant benefits after adopting a geographic information system for research and survey work. The above-mentioned shovel test pits is one common example of GIS being used in the archeology field. The remote-sensing capabilities of GIS allow researchers to identify the secluded areas that might contain artifacts and other crucial materials from the ancient era.