As a developed land, Australia may not be one of the oldest countries on earth, but that just means that not much is known about the people who lived here in centuries gone by. If you're intrigued about ancient history and may be planning the improvement of some vacant land, you may be wondering what actually lays beneath the surface. How should you proceed with your project, with this in mind?
How to Start
Certainly, you can always find something interesting just below the surface of a "dig," but in reality, more of the interesting artefacts are going to be found much further down. You can start off by using special track mounted excavators to carefully remove the top layers. These machines have buckets that can remove quite large quantities relatively quickly. In doing so you can get rid of any foundations from a recently cleared building, for example.
Getting an Expert Eye
To be sure of what you're doing, however, you should get an archaeologist in at this early stage of proceedings to be on the lookout for anything of initial interest. Certainly, the operator of the excavator may be skilled at what they do, but not an expert in what may be uncovered.
If the archaeologist starts to get excited about items that are being uncovered, it's time to relegate the machine and bring in some individuals to operate by hand. This can certainly be a lot more laborious, as you will need to use special tools in order to go through the soil carefully. Make sure that you get flat edged implements or hand trowels for this work.
Concentrate everyone into a small area to begin with and make sure that you go down a certain way before moving to the next part. When you develop a routine like this, you will be able to move quite efficiently across the entire area before you know it.
Of course, if this level of work uncovers something fascinating then work elsewhere should stop until the scale of what's been revealed is determined. Brushes and smaller tools will be required here and the archaeologist may even recommend the use of some medical instruments.
When something unusual is found in a particular area, you should have an additional look at the material that was removed from that area, once again. You can pass this material through a sieve, which will in turn recover any minute artefacts that may have been overlooked in the preliminary dig.
Finally, keep the soil that is being removed in a separate area. Once it has been cleared of any potential artefacts you will need it to fill in some of the excavated area for your construction needs.
If you are unclear about how you should proceed in any part of your excavation, get an archaeological assessment by a qualified archaeologist first.