Native American Cultures HomeScholastic Explorers

Skagit River field sites
Canyon Rock field sites
Native American Cultures HomeEarthwatch
Prehistoric Pueblos: Field Sites
To begin their work, the scientists first need to produce accurate maps of the sites. They measure the area, make drawings, and take photographs.

The archaeologists then mark out one-meter- square grids, as shown in the photo on the right. Working in grids makes it easier to work. The archaeologists use trowels and brushes to scrape away layers of dirt within each square, carefully digging down one centimeter at a time.

The team must work carefully and examine everything. Did you know that even tiny seeds and pollen grains are important? These seeds and grains can tell us what crops they grew and what they ate. To catch these small pieces, archaeologists sift the dirt from each grid through fine mesh screens.

Everything found at the site is carefully recorded according to its exact location within a grid and the depth where it was found. The finds are then sorted into categories to be analyzed later in an on-site laboratory, or to be sent to specialists at laboratories elsewhere.

Photo Credits: Courtesy of Karl Laumbach  

Here you can see how the excavation area is sectioned into grids. You can also see common tools used: a dustpan and brush.

Sifting for small fragments while the dog watches.