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Excavation Is Destruction." Explore With Examples A Range Of Justifications Given For Excavating Sites.

1553 words - 6 pages

Before an excavation can take place many surveys must be undertaken, such as remote sensing techniques, to analyze the likelihood of the site containing something of historical interest. By excavating a piece of land a great deal can be found out about the past that simply can't be found out using aerial reconnaissance, magnetic survey methods or other such techniques. It is important to understand that excavation isn't undertaken lightly. A site will be studied for many months before hand using a wide range of methods from field walking to electromagnetic methods. The techniques used before the decision to excavate is taken can be viewed as checks and balances against reckless excavation, done without in-depth research which could scar the land. As a result the chances of an inappropriate excavation are vastly reduced. There are predominantly three main reasons as to why excavations take place, which help argue the validity of excavations. These are Research excavations, Social excavations and Rescue excavations.Research excavations take place less often. They differ from other excavations because they are excavations undertaken by institutes of academic learning, otherwise known as universities. The funding for these excavations is a lot more limited than for excavations of a more mainstream nature. Occasionally the excavations are funded by local businesses, organizations such as the British Academy or local government. As the title may suggest the excavations take place for academic purposes, they aim to answer and enhance regional history as well as questions of an academic nature. They take place over several years, providing students with their first experience of an archaeological dig. Although quite often not of national interest or relevance these sorts of excavations do perform important tasks in that they help bring through the next generation of archaeologist. They also concentrate less on finding "treasures", coins, ancient artefacts etc, and more on piecing together histories and the previous use of the land. For instance the archaeological departments at the University of Reading are in the process of excavating a site that is in the process of being reclaimed by the river Ouse. The Archaeological strata in the site have led them to find evidence of Bronze Age occupancy. Whilst not nationally important it is an interesting find all the same and it is through excavations like these that we don't just learn about the previous human related history of regional parts of England but that we can also piece together the natural history of the country.Social excavations are widely common in Europe. They come in two forms. The first form is the preparation of a site for public viewing. This can be in the form of the restoration of a castle or other monuments open to the public. In this country the English Heritage carry out scheduled excavations, open to viewing by the public on monuments as part of its remit. It is however the excavations...

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