Exploration is the method wherein archaeologists attempt in detecting unknown sites, to understand the archeological potential of the site through various techniques which is again dependent on various means and methods.
Some of the accidental and involuntary discoveries are called chance finds, which has been responsible for the discovery of ancient sites, which usually happens by human involvement or natural forces.
Prospecting and Preliminary Survey
1. Literary Research
Most of the literary works contribute to the search for sites, mainly topographical and geographical works.
Ancient and modern maps aid in locating some of the vanished sites and monuments. Ruins are considered very much helpful for locating ancient monuments.
3. Place Names
Names of places are of great significance for archaeological exploration as they are often helpful in locating ancient sites.
Ground Level Survey
Surveying at ground level is considered as traditional and direct form of prospecting which provides real picture and the potential of the site which is under investigation.
Here a hole is drilled into a suspected area involving hollow structures and tombs while a miniature camera and flash gun is later introduced into the drill holes for capturing photographs of the interiors.
Chemical surveying is based on phosphate analysis in soil which can reveal presence of prehistoric habitations.
Aerial photography or aerial survey is considered a very useful method for locating ancient sites as well as monuments.
In the field of archaeology, excavation involves exposure, processing as well as recording of archaeologically potential remains. An excavation site is associated with a specific archaeological site or many sites.
Methods of Excavation
- Unearthing the sites which involves planning the excavations and layout.
- Techniques of Excavations such as vertical, horizontal, tools and equipments.
- Excavation of sites whether they are rock-shelter and prehistoric sites, burials, stupa and mud structures etc.
- Recording excavated remains which involves preparation of sections and plans, stratigraphy, three dimensional recording and site formation process.
- Retrieving botanical and other non-artefact based remains.
The process involves classification of objects/findings followed by reconstructing socio-economic aspects, such as contextual and site catchment analysis.
- Drawings of site, antiquity plans and elevation section.
- Surveying through instruments followed by preparation of maps.
- Scientific analysis of the excavated remains.
- Establishing site laboratory.