2.3 Data and use

The data are recorded in the field on two primary forms, the Square Recording Form (Figure 7a) and the Tract Recording Form (Figure 7b). There are other forms for architectural features, as well as spolia, which record data that will not be addressed in this article. Information recorded on the square forms are square conditions, date and time of survey, pottery counts and weights, roof tile counts and characteristics, other finds such as coins, loom-weights, or wasters, and architectural features present in the square. The tract form is used for recording field conditions and land use as a whole. Since a significant portion of the methodology is dictated by a field's land use, condition, and vegetation, this information is crucial to the assessment of the survey process implemented.

The square and tract information on the forms is then input into the database for storage and preliminary analysis. Much of the analysis hinges on interpretation of diagnostic pottery brought in from the field, which is ongoing and will not be completed until the later stages of the survey. In the meantime, total counts and the presence of particular finds (such as architectural features, identifying roof tiles, and other finds) form the primary types of data analysed by the project members. Referencing the database information spatially in a GIS application gives project members a practical way to analyse and interrogate the interim data until more detailed data are available. In this sense an entire picture of the area of study is created, with surveyed areas identified and associated square information spatially referenced.

Currently, the data are used in a number of ways. In the most general terms, an up-to-date map of the surveyed and un-surveyed areas of the plateau aid in the daily lay-out decisions. To ensure the effectiveness of the survey from year to year, fields with particular vegetation types are targeted depending on the time of year. Apricots, for example, are usually harvested during the beginning of the summer. The 2006 season started a week after the harvesting of this crop in an attempt to capitalise on the ground conditions within these fields. This is because when they are harvested, ground visibility is at its best because of the agricultural methods employed. In addition, certain areas of the plateau are actively being developed, requiring some areas to be surveyed before the surface archaeology is lost. The rescue excavations that usually precede any building in the area also provide initial insight into the survey's validity by comparing the surface finds with excavation information.

A comprehensive picture of the current and future use of the plateau is a valuable resource to the director and survey designers. This not only aids in the project's research but also in the active planning. The Sikyon project maintains a rectified aerial photograph and AutoCAD .dwg file for this purpose. Attribute data relating to the field types and development plans of the plateau do not always exist in the .dwg file. Pottery and roof tile counts of particular areas also aid in the project's planning process. At the beginning of each season, areas with assumed lower count totals are targeted in order to ease in newcomers to the survey. Rather than overwhelm the inexperienced field-walkers with a 20 x 20 metre square which has a sherd density of 150 sherds per square metre, these lower density areas are ideal for acclimatising the field-walkers to the survey process.


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Last updated: Tue Mar 25 2008