Archival Research and Archaeology

Archaeological digging does not always involve dirt; one of the first steps in the archaeological process is archival research. Researchers examine archives, maps, documents, and photographs to aid archaeologists in locating potential sites, and assess the archaeological potential of an area. Archaeologists are able to use this information to determine the best placement of their excavation units and where to focus their excavation efforts as a whole. Before archaeologists begin digging, they want to understand as much as possible about what the site was used for, who might have used it, and what they might find.

Archaeology provides archaeologists and historians with new historical information about a site. Sometimes the results of an excavation provide physical evidence that supports the historical documentation. At times, archaeologists are unable to locate features or historical sites as documented in the historical assessment. There are a number of possible reasons for this: it can mean that the excavation pits are too far in one direction, that disturbance of the area at a later date has erased all evidence of earlier land uses, or that the historical documentation is inaccurate.

In combination with archival research, archaeological excavations and discoveries provide important information about our past.
Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation
Hannah Roth

© 2007, Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

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