Posted in Blog Post, Excavation, Field

Excavations – Unit Placement

-post by Bridgett B. (FSU Field School student)

Today we mapped out where the excavation units were going to be. We used knowledge of the site and the completed shovel test survey to determine where we were going to open up units that will help answer the project research questions.

Dr. Thomas inspecting an area where we will have several excavation units. We expect there will be an abundance of tree roots in these units.


We started out by clearing all of the brush out of the way so that they tape measures would lay flat on the ground. Then we measured out one meter by two meter units using the East 1020 transect line as our point of reference. It is important to measure everything in relation to the grid that was established by our partners at the Southeast Archeological Center so that we can find the exact location of units we are working in and future archaeologists know where we had units opened up for excavation.

Dr. Peres and Dr. Thomas showing the FSU Field School students how to establish (and re-establish) transect lines along the E1020 grid line. We have to make sure there is no vegetation or large branches keeping the tape measures from laying flat on the ground.

We double checked that our measurements were correct by doing a little bit of geometry. We used the Pythagorean Theorem which is a2 + b2 = c2  to find what the measurement of the diagonal line or hypotenuse should be. We found that for our one meter by two meter units that the hypotenuse should be 2.236meters across.

Dr. Peres teaches the students the importance of the hypoteneuse.

Once we checked, doubled-checked, and triple-checked the measurements again we put metal pins in the ground to mark the four corners of the unit.

Dr. Peres and Dr. Thomas checking, double-checking, and triple-checking the measurements.
FSU Field School student makes sure teh corner spikes are in the correct location so our excavation units are a true 1-meter x 2-meter rectangle.

Then tied pick flagging tape around those pins so we wouldn’t lose them or trip of them the next day.

Field assistant, Kelly L., flags the corners of an excavation unit.

The last step in preparing the units to be excavated was to wrap twine around all four of the metal pins to clearly define the edges of the units. The twine will help us start off the excavation with straight walls so that we excavate following accepted scientific methods for proper contextual control. The goal is to get as much information as possible about the people who lived here in the past and marking out perfect excavation units is just one way of achieving that goal.



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