What is a Section?
A section is a vertical cut in the ground to have a glimpse through a feature, for example a post hole or a ditch. This can assist the archaeologists in studying the site as it gives a snap shot of the layers of stratigraphy and therefore assist with dating.
Knowing exactly where to put a section takes some skill and it is the site director, or head archaeologists, who usually makes the decision, as they have the most experience.
Once the section has been cut, then a section drawing is taken. This is an accurate illustration of the section wall. In the picture above, half of a pit has been excavated, the section drawing would be of the flat vertical wall showing the layers and any inclusions or artefacts that are there.
The section drawing must be a faithful representation of the section, as this will be used later in reports and analysis. The vertical section must be excavated as straight as possible in order to give accuracy. When setting up for a Section Drawing a base line is required – pegs are placed in the ground on either side of the area to be drawn. String, or a line, is stretched between them and a spirit level used to make sure it is level. All measurements are then taken from this baseline to ensure accuracy.
If the section is on sloping ground, then this will show up in the drawing. On sloping ground the base line is set up as above, and accurate measurements taken to show the slope or angle of the ground, and the section, and this is then conveyed to the drawing – see below.
Each layer of stratigraphy , inclusion and artefact is measured and drawn on the section drawing, to scale. It is very important to be as accurate as possible, and to include everything that is in the section. When analyzing the drawing at a later date, the archaeologist needs to be able to see exactly what was in the section.
Archaeology Wow!! – The Grauballe Man – Bog Body
The Grauballe Man is the name given to the body of a man who was found in a bog near the village of Grauballe, Jutland, Denmark in 1952.
The body has been dated by stratigraphic layer, and Carbon Dating, to c.3rd century BC. and this places the man in the Germanic Iron Age.
The man was in his late 30’s, was solidly built and had thick red hair. Under close examination it was found that his hands showed no signs of manual labour, which was unusual for the time, demonstrating he was either of high birth or possibly a priest. His stomach contents were analysed and researchers stated that he had eaten a very watery soup not too long before he had died. The soup included 63 different seed types, all of which were found in winter and spring time, so they were able to place his time of death at around the end of winter and the beginning of spring.
The man had suffered from a fractured skull, a broken leg, and his throat had been cut. This has led researchers to believe he was a human sacrifice, which was an important part of Germanic Pagan ritual. After he had suffered his injuries, Grauballe Man had been dumped in the bog, where his body was naturally.preserved.
Grauballe Man can be seen in the Moesgaard Museum in Denmark.
Archaeological Site Guide – Isla del Sol, Bolivia
Isla del Sol, also known as Island of the Sun, and Isla de Titicaca, is a small island measuring 14.3 square km located on the southern part of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. It is beleived to have been inhabited first by the Tiahuanaco people and then the Incas.
The island is very sacred to the Inca’s, and archaeologists have shown that people lived on the island as long ago as the 3rd century BC. During the 15th and 16th centuries, during the Incan period, it was a very sacred site, as it was beleived that the Sun was born there, and the origin of the Incan civilization.
Myth and legend states that the sun and moon emerged from the Titiqala Caves, on the island, and the Incan civilization was born from them.
The archaeology of the island is made up of around 180 archaeological ruins, including the Temple of the Sun. The island has been divided into three areas,
At Yumani there are 206 steps rising 164 feet towards three sacred springs, and these were beleived to be the Fountain of Youth springs.
The major ritual site is beleived to have been Chucaripupata, and the Sacred Rock is located in a building that is like a labyrinth at Challapampa, which is beleived to have been used by priests.
There is evidence of agricultural terraces where the local people would have grown their crops.
Archaeologists have found Tiahuanaco and Incan artefacts underwater around the island, which are now located at the museum in Challapampa. Finds on the island include 8 obsidian flakes, and as there is no obsidian naturally, this shows evidence of an exchange network with people further away.
Research has shown that at one stage the water levels were higher, and with the discovery of the obsidian flakes, archaeologists believe that the inhabitants must have used some type of water craft in order to participate in the exchange networks.
The island has no roads, but an ancient track stretches from one end to the other. The area is a popular tourist destination and well worth a visit!
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