How to Do Archaeology the Right Way

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9780813013923: How to Do Archaeology the Right Way

"Provides a sense of what it really means to be a professional archaeologist, how we go about doing that which we do, and the benefit to the broader public from our doing what we do in the manner in which we do it. . . . Will help improve the public's understanding of the fragile nature of archaeological resources."--Louis D. Tesar, Bureau of Archaeological Research, Florida Department of State

Despite field conditions that often include bug bites, bad food, and nonexistent plumbing, legions of amateur archaeologists regularly take to the field--sometimes a muddy one--to dig up ceramic pots, animal bones, and stone spearheads. This book explains how and why the professionals do it.

 In nontechnical language directed to the general public, conservation groups, and land developers, Barbara Purdy summarizes the prehistory of Florida and describes the ways that responsible archaeologists excavate and analyze remains. She answers the questions "How do archaeologists know where to dig?" and "Why do they excavate a particular site?" and she discusses the months of planning, surveying, mapping, testing, fund raising, and permit acquisition that precede excavation. She also includes information on the rules and regulations governing digs, on artifact analysis, dating, and preservation, and on the ways in which excavation affects the balance of nature.

 Most of the sites and artifacts discussed and illustrated come from Florida, and from Barbara Purdy's 30 years of experience in the field there, but the techniques and analyses she describes can be applied anywhere. With the proper methods, excavation of the past can help reconstruct ancient lives and landscapes, she says, yielding new information about something old. Without them, ignorance, development, and vandalism threaten to devastate our rich archaeological heritage.

Barbara A. Purdy is professor emerita of anthropology at the University of Florida. She is the author of many articles and books, including Florida's Prehistoric Stone Technology: A Study of the Flintworking Techniques of Early Florida Stone Implement Makers (UPF, 1981) and The Art and Archaeology of Florida's Wetlands (1991) and is the editor or coeditor of Maritime Heritage of Florida (1980), Lithic Quarry Production (1984), and Wetsite Archaeology (1988).

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Barbara Purdy
Published by University Press of Florida (1996)
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