BAJR Federation Archaeology

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Unitof1 Wrote:Yes its not perfect but I would suggest that geophysics is almost worthless without evaluation and that if you were to evaluate the geophysics results that you still have to sample the areas of the site that the geophysics did not produce any results to verify the negative results of the geophysics map for the site.

That's pretty standard practice too, at least round here, bung a few trenches in the 'blank' areas on the geofizz just to check that they're really blank
Jack Wrote:Yep, yep and yep. All good points.

Though can't help prodding a bit more.
What constitutes significant archaeology can vary from situation to situation, site to site, region to region.
And yes topsoil, or to be more precise, what is in it can be significant archaeological remains requiring recovery and recording in some areas.

See the EH Research Strategy for Prehistory.......though not sure how widely it has been spread as yet (we got a consultation draft).

Some jobs require mitigation of the loss of worked flint from the topsoil prior to the development going ahead.

As many will know, mathematical modelling is dependent on the basic assumptions of the model (what is a site, what are the factors affecting its location, what errors exist in the data, what skewing factors exist). The proportion of the total dataset entered into any model will dictate its usefulness in predicting......just look at the climatic model for example.

Now I would argue that for archaeology we are still only looking at a small proportion of the total as a start, archaeology is only a proportion of past human activity.
Surviving archaeology represents a small proportion of the former total.
Known archaeology is only a tiny fragment of the surviving archaeology.

You just have to be involved in large projects in areas where DBA's used to come up with nothing, like the Holderness plain in East Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and the 'missing' Iron Age of Durham to get an idea of just how little we know about even simple distributions of most 'sites'.

This is not meant to be insulting Doug, as if you've been studying this for 40 years you must know this. I am fascinated by your claim and want more elucidation, if that is possible.

In my experience of site prediction when for instance being involved in preliminary archaeological works on pipelines, there are rules of thumb that are useful. But people are, and were, contradictory, arsey and stubborn. Sites always seem to crop up where unexpected.

I am interested in how you test your model.

Not insulting in the least bit. PM even after 40 years still has much to be improved upon. Though I have not personally worked on it for 40 years.

Yes- what is important differs from place to place- in southwest US it is 10 lithics within 100m or 3 anything that is datable and all over 50 years of age (not still in use). Here it is what the council arc or EH/HS/Cadw/ etc. says is important with some guidelines.

If you are interested in more I would recommend this publication- https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/handle/1887/11863 stroll to the bottom to get the full pdf


Chapter one will give you a good overview and the other chapters cover a lot of your questions.

I would recommend reading the beginning of chapter 7. It illustrates my point made ages ago in this thread- even with predictive modelling being very good you always, always test. The other chapters are fairly good at explaining the different ways PM works in detail.


For interesting work on heritage management and PM-
http://www.assemblage.group.shef.ac.uk/i...inger.html


For the most recent work on the subject this is a good read

http://www.academia.edu/433078/P._Verhag...and_Theory

Overall predictive modelling is basically a deskbased assessment. The only difference is that instead of going to the HR and seeing if anything has been found before in an area and then making a judgement call you follow a set methodology. Not saying what people do with deskdased assessment is flawed just that with PM there are ways to account for problems with the HR that people may not employ on their own deskbased assessment.

Can't iterate this enough- PM can be very very good but it is never 100%. As the Dutch have learned (see that chapter 7) it can not replace actual investigations. It can however sever as a good consulting tool for those in the business of consulting clients about what sort of archaeology to expect. Well, what sort of archaeology they will be required to deal with. As Kevin and Jack point out archaeology is everywhere but not everyone agrees on what it is or what is important.

Jack- some of those resources are some pretty heavy jargon laced reading that I even have trouble getting through at times. Also, it doesn't capture all of the possible ways of doing things. Your question about testing models actually has about 4-5 different ways of doing it. Actually- two main ways but lots of sub-catagories. One is you go out and test your models (can be expensive) e.g. I say you will find site type X here but not there so lets excavate here AND there using a sampling strategy that can then be applied to eerything (people often make the mistake of only looking where they predict things to be- you can see the flaw in that. Very relevant to the geophys talk as well.) or two you look at past data- which involves all sorts of extra steps to eliminate response bias (which are not perfect). If you want I can point you in the direction of good examples. I am afraid that in only a couple of hundred words I am leaving out all the nuances and problems people have found with PM (and that PP finds entertaining) so it is probably not the best explanation of how PM works.

Hope those readings help. If you have anymore questions please fire away.
Hamish Wrote:Most of the wheat grains I looked at in the fields while photographing cropmarks around harvest time were poorly developed - probably due to the hot/dry weather this summer, so I don't think the harvest has been that great.


BAJR Wrote:From what I heard on the Farmers news this morning ( yes I do listen!) it was a good harvest but not GOOOD and teh wheat harvest was 90% with some mixed results. - so in general - not bad... but not trumpet parrping


Unitof1 Wrote:Hamish wheat comes from a hot dry climate. Heres a sample of whats going on notice that the landowners like to set records

http://www.fwi.co.uk/articles/13/09/2013...nshire.htm

and heres what English nature advises

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaT_rTx6ISs

Sorry Unit, I was just stating my observations on the ground in North Oxfordshire, Where I've been looking at cropmarks typically the plough drags/bounces through the top of the Great Oolite Limestone just leaving pits and ditches and not much else (well ok the soil does vary in depth so there are deeper areas). I think where subsoiling is commonly used depends a bit on geology and how prone the soil is to compaction.
hi doug - the intro in the phd paper sez it all really. the models you build are only as good as the data used to create them and this is all flawed or just wrong. there are too many variables and inconsistent ways of interpretting archaeology. i cant think of any model for predicting archaeological sites even using broad categories that has stood the test of even a small amount of time (in the uk and the dutch have probably lost more than they will ever admit by using crap pm). there is no basis for building an accurate model, there is not an smr or her that contains accurate information and certainly not one that you can easily quizz for accurate information, the speed of investigation and chance recovery over the past 40 years has meant that nobody has a clue as to what was lost without record and how that skews your models and there has never been a publication in any journal ever that has been able to show that the data used was accurate or nowadays, meaningful. the prospect of governments latching onto the pm heresy and thereby having statistisions evaluating development sites i find amusing indeed
To be fair, it is how you use it that matters to me/ I would always search every off summit south facing slope for sites in a particular area... as a majority of prehistoric sites were found in that area. and it was easier to argue to planning that there was a good reason to do this... HOWEVER> this did not mean that I would ignore any north slope or summit etc... when I started using PM it acually helped my hit rate... though it was down to added data... which helps. though never removed the need to investigate the unknown with all methods that I could ask for.

Currently a lovely Neolithic / Bronze Age site is being excavat3ed that I placed conditions on about 8 years ago. as I predicted a site and was able to strengthen that argument after the consultants added geophysics to the mix. and after some negotiations worked out a way for the site to be dug and the client to be (reasonably) happy so one method should be relied on...

and now I guess we have managed to come as far from the thread origins as I can imagine Smile


HOWEVER> I do agree that predicting is as much an art as a science. --- probably more!
P Prentice Wrote:hi doug - the intro in the phd paper sez it all really. the models you build are only as good as the data used to create them and this is all flawed or just wrong. there are too many variables and inconsistent ways of interpretting archaeology. i cant think of any model for predicting archaeological sites even using broad categories that has stood the test of even a small amount of time (in the uk and the dutch have probably lost more than they will ever admit by using crap pm). there is no basis for building an accurate model, there is not an smr or her that contains accurate information and certainly not one that you can easily quizz for accurate information, the speed of investigation and chance recovery over the past 40 years has meant that nobody has a clue as to what was lost without record and how that skews your models and there has never been a publication in any journal ever that has been able to show that the data used was accurate or nowadays, meaningful. the prospect of governments latching onto the pm heresy and thereby having statistisions evaluating development sites i find amusing indeed


Yeah- read on to the paper I posted about new developments in pm. You can make completely behavior based models that are really great in areas with no previous archaeological work (or as you point out all sorts of problems with the data). Using stats and previously known sites is only one method. I personally don't like it too much but it works. I use different methods

Also read my comments again, we have gone into a straw man argument here.
I stated that even with really good models you always need to check. There are really good models out there but even if there are right 95% of the time they are still not perfect.

The comment that started this all was- we need to dig less because we don't find stuff. To which people said ah but sometimes you do. At which point I added using PM you can get really good results (not 100%) AND you should always check. The example I give in that paper is the perfect example of using PM and still needing to check. I never said PM was perfect. I said that in some cases- using PM we can be really dead on but still need to check. That is why PM is best used for desk based assessment not a replacement for anything. Pretty much everyone in the geopyhs discussion I think agrees that it is a tool to help but not a replacement and the same for PM. It was simply an observation that was relevant to a discussion about the fact we know sites are and are not certain places.

Now I know as a curator you might feel like I am stepping on your toes with PM. Depending on how you do PM it is exactly what you do- look, guess (educated guess) and recommend to planning that they should or should not do archaeology. How many sites have you lost by not requiring archaeology investigations on everything? Or do you recommend archaeology for everything? At which point please share with us how you keep your job and not piss people off?

I am not trying to replace your job. I am only adding another tool which may or may not work all the time- like geophys. A model still needs someone to interpret and make decisions with it. That also means looking at if the data is bad or there are problems with it etc. etc. everything you mention are things a good modeler should be concerned about.

If you want more discussion about problems with PM and the solutions I will be more than happy to point you in the direction of some resources. However, the points you bring up are complex and I don't really have time- nor would anyone want me to spend hours typing in 1000s of words on the subject here on this forum.
so the argument is that PM is always going to have to be tested against trench evaluation for EVERY site so lets just drop PM and get on with using digging as the ONLY archaeological evaluation method.

What you should be using PM for is for sites that are not going to be dug like fields with crop marks to show what damage sub-soiling mole ploughing/drainage are doing to out context resource.
Unitof1 Wrote:so the argument is that PM is always going to have to be tested against trench evaluation for EVERY site so lets just drop PM and get on with using digging as the ONLY archaeological evaluation method.

What you should be using PM for is for sites that are not going to be dug like fields with crop marks to show what damage sub-soiling mole ploughing/drainage are doing to out context resource.


First sentence yes- digging should be the final solution and always done. However, like geophys it can complement digging e.g. dig here or dig there- saves time, money, your back (not so much these days with jcbs but you get the point). Usually the quicker you find stuff the better- I can think of one or two exceptions.

Second sentence- Unit sorry to keep doing this to you unit but your skills of mixing up sentences so no one knows who your are was a little too successful again. I don't know what you are saying there. :face-huh:
sorry should read: "our" context resource

no digging is the first and only solution for an archaeologist. Geophysics is the solution for a geophysicist. Normally geophysics is used to find minerals and oil and gas. It normally does it by finding what it can do most easily ie your saves time, money back approach. But with polluter pays archaeologists can have a go at finding "all" the archaeology on a site. By all I mean "total archaeology"- single context recording methods of excavation. Archaeologists require "evaluation" to put a cost to this. Geophysics cannot in any way do this. Archaeologists already have a site based on the landowners planning application. All you are doing is selling landowners the promise that they can reduce their archaeological evaluation costs by doing geophysics. You are confusing discovering a potential site with evaluating a site for excavation. Stop it, we already have a "site" of archaeology, we don't need you.
Eerrrr - Doug, how do you 'predict' completely new types of archaeological feature? I've got a big site going to analysis (when the cash is sorted out) where we have several major features which as far as I can tell are completely unprecedented, certainly in the published literature. Admittedly within a major Neolithic 'ritual' complex, but they only turned up during area stripping

Also, following the Neolithic theme, what happens when all the literature/'data' upon which your predictive modelling is based turns out to be b***ocks - apparently according to all the recent literature Neo pits are primarily associated with said 'ritual' complexes, whereas when you look at sites in North Yorkshire where theres been big area stripping it turns out in reality that's the one place there don't tend to be any (e.g. the Marne Barracks palisaded enclosures, and epic amounts of stripping around another big site hasn't turned up any) - they're everywhere else though...PhD anyone?
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