BAJR Federation Archaeology

Full Version: IfA Survey and measured recording survey
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Strictly a personal opinion; reads like more IFA clutter. Perchance will lead to more "guidance" on a particular subject. Really, I would think that many of "us" i.e. comercially based archaeologist would know when to use a technically trained surveyor depending on the sort of work and the ever present budget constraints. From my experience if you know how to set up a total station and use a tape to set out grids then you're useful. I can use tapes to set out a grid and I'm certainly familiar with a total station but would never consider myself a "surveyor" in the proper sense. Maybe we should stick to what we know rather than what we think we know....
Wax Wrote:And what is the fascination with physically setting a grid out over a site with tape measures when you have access to a total station?

I have absolutely no idea. I still remember looks of amazement the day I demonstrated that you could set out a geophysical survey grid using pre-programmed coordinates and a robotic total station in a fraction of the time it took to do it with tapes.
Does that get around the truism that there's always a rock anywhere you want to stick a peg in?

Bring back theodolites, could use one of them :face-crying:
Wax Wrote:It lists a very wide range of methods and technologies but does not ask the fundemental question "Do you understand basic survey principles?" . It is very easy to use a Total Station or other high tech piece of kit but without understanding basic principals you do not know what are the most appropriate methods or the problems you might be building into your survey. Just cause it looks good dont mean it is accurate. How many know how to define or work within defined accuracies, and I do not mean those built in by the scale at which you plot the finished result.

It is far too easy for archaeologists to think they are surveyors just because they can set out a grid with a tape and set up a total station.:face-stir:

I suppose by asking the question of what levels of training people would like it is attempting to quantify what trainning might be needed. :face-huh:


I think we would run the risk of beating ourselves up over this, as they say. Do we all understand the principals of survey? Probably not, but then we use geological information all the time. Do we understand all of geology's principals? I doubt it. Not to mention history, biology, etc. (sing along everyone: 'don't know much about biology...') Using surveying appropriately to do what we want it to do is surely enough isn't it? Not only that, but how many times have I found myself attempting to relate something to a drawing I presumed accurate that was produced by an architect or similar? Even the OS mapping is sometimes remarkably dubious when compared to something actually surveyed. A superbly accurate trench plan, for example, isn't much use if the OS map it is going to be related to isn't very.

As for the point of the survey, I'm not sure, probably just something else to make us feel inadequate!
RedEarth Wrote:I think we would run the risk of beating ourselves up over this, as they say. Do we all understand the principals of survey? Probably not, but then we use geological information all the time. Do we understand all of geology's principals? I doubt it. Not to mention history, biology, etc. (sing along everyone: 'don't know much about biology...') Using surveying appropriately to do what we want it to do is surely enough isn't it? Not only that, but how many times have I found myself attempting to relate something to a drawing I presumed accurate that was produced by an architect or similar? Even the OS mapping is sometimes remarkably dubious when compared to something actually surveyed. A superbly accurate trench plan, for example, isn't much use if the OS map it is going to be related to isn't very.

As for the point of the survey, I'm not sure, probably just something else to make us feel inadequate!

Proves Wax's point.

You need to understand the accuracy, confidence levels etc of the technique and kit your using and how that effects your own measurements
Jack Wrote:Proves Wax's point.

You need to understand the accuracy, confidence levels etc of the technique and kit your using and how that effects your own measurements

Which point exactly? Obviously understanding the accuracy of what you are using is a good idea but how far does understanding basic surveying principles go? After all I can use a shovel, but I couldn't claim an in depth knowledge of the physics behind shovelling. A lot of modern surveying equipment works out the level of accuracy for you anyway. Expecting all archaeologists to be expert surveyors is ridiculous, about as ridiculous as expecting them all to be able to spell correctly: 'and kit you're using and how that affects your own measurements'. :face-stir:Smile
Quote:A lot of modern surveying equipment works out the level of accuracy for you anyway.

But it doesn't explain how to design a survey to avoid compounding these errors.

Quote:Expecting all archaeologists to be expert surveyors is ridiculous

But I think its reasonable to expect people to know that you can set out faster and more accuretely with a total station rather than fannying about with tapes. As long as someone on site knows what they are doing it's OK.

Quote:Bring back theodolites, could use one of them

Total stations are essentially the same, only they measure distances as well and remember things. I've set out with optical squares and surveyed with plane tables, but give me a machine that remembers things any day.
Or GPS...................
Oxbeast Wrote:As long as someone on site knows what they are doing it's OK.

Is that the same as understanding basic surveying principles?
Using a theodolite and a set of tables/slide-rule to work it all out (or the Tan/Sin/Cos etc buttons on one of those new-fangled calculator thingies) definitely sorted out people who understood surveying from those who didn't... :face-thinks:

Still have a good laugh when, despite the use of thousands of quids-worth of push-button space-age kit parts of the site still plot out in another county }Smile
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