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The 1885 coin in Layer E establishes that Layer E dates from on or after 1885.

It follows that the pottery fragment in Layer D and the bottle cap in Layer B likely date from or after 1885 as well.

During and after an excavation, an archaeologist confronts a bewildering collection of artifacts, drawings, and photographs to decipher and relate to one another.

Using both relative and absolute dating methods, an archaeologist can often place a site within a larger chronological framework.

It will also outline where artifacts recovered from the project will be stored, and how the research will be reported and shared with the public.

Archival research is often the first step in archaeology.

In this section of Methods of Gathering Data you will learn how archaeologists gather and analyze information by utilizing historical research techniques, field methods for data recovery, and laboratory analyses.

Back to top Every archaeology project begins with a research design –a plan that describes why the archaeology is being done, what research questions it hopes to answer, and the methods and techniques that will be used to gather and analyze the artifacts and other archaeological materials.

Primary historical documents that archaeologists may consult before beginning their field research include: maps and/or photographs of the area, newspapers, land and tax records, and diaries and letters.

An archaeologist can determine the age of a pottery fragment by measuring the remaining amount of radioactive elements that it contains.

Another way of dating pottery and other inorganic materials is through .

Open this History Toolkit to learn more about investigating the past with primary sources.

In addition to primary historical documents, archaeologists will look for site reports that have been prepared by other archaeologists who have studied this area.

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