The Archaeologist's Field Handbook

The Archaeologist's Field Handbook

The Archaeologist's Field Handbook

The Archaeologist's Field Handbook

Synopsis

"The complete guide to practical fieldwork in Australia today. A step-by-step, illustrated guide for students and professionals at all levels. Indispensable."

Excerpt

This book is a successor to John Mulvaney's Australian Archaeology: a Guide to Field and Laboratory Techniques (1972) and Graham Connah's Australian Field Archaeology: a Guide to Techniques (1983). These were the texts we used as undergraduate students, but they have been out of print for some time, leaving Australian archaeology without a field book suited to local conditions. This book was produced to fill that gap. It is a hands-on field manual which provides a step-by-step guide to undertaking and successfully completing a wide variety of archaeological fieldwork projects, from simple site recordings to professional consultancies. Our aim has been to combine clear and easy-to-understand information on conducting fieldwork for undergraduate and postgraduate students with practical advice for successfully undertaking archaeological consultancies. While this book is intended primarily for archaeologists, you don't need to be an archaeologist to use it. We expect that it will also be of value to interested members of the public, such as members of historical societies or the National Trust. in this respect, our intention is to make people aware of the legal and ethical obligations inherent in documenting and recording cultural heritage sites responsibly and well. To this end, there are some methods which have been omitted entirely from this manual because they should not be undertaken by amateurs. in particular, sampling rock art motifs for dating, or any restoration or conservation work, should only be done by trained professionals.

The main problem with writing a manual, particularly in archaeology, is that many cases must be dealt with on their own merits. There can be no hard and fast 'recipes' for being a responsible archaeologist, although there is a clear need for guidelines and standards to ensure high-quality work. the methods and guidelines presented in this book outline thresholds for professional practice rather than the only methods that can be used in a given situation. Every site is different, and to some extent the field methods employed in each situation will be different. the key is to be flexible: while there are basic principles and methods, each field project will present its own challenges and inspire its own solutions. Moreover, there is so much variation in the legislation dealing with cultural heritage across Australia that there is also considerable diversity in the standards for professional conduct which are considered acceptable within each state. Through this book, we are trying to promote some generally accepted standards and protocols, and to make this information available within the one, easy-to-carry volume. By firmly grounding essential practical techniques in an understanding of the contemporary ethical issues . . .

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