Dating artifacts important

A datum point, or point of reference from a United States Geological Survey benchmark, is established, and measurements are taken from that point.

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In Alexandria, archaeological sites are discovered in a variety of ways.

" These are questions that archaeologists hear numerous times.

The grid is based on the cardinal points of the compass (north, south, east and west).

Accurate measurements using the grid are taken using surveying equipment.

The datum point is located at the southwest corner of the site.

Sometimes, only a few test squares within the site grid will be dug, while on other sites the entire area is excavated.

The archaeologists first draw a base map that indicates where the site is located.

During the excavation, the archaeologists add to the map to show which portions of the site were excavated and where features and artifacts were discovered.

Each excavation unit, or square, on the established grid is identified by a set of coordinates.

The coordinates are designated by counting the number of units (meters or feet) north and east of the datum point.

Occasionally, the City Archaeologists choose to work on an important site that is not threatened, or that will be disturbed by small construction projects not covered by the City laws.

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