AGA Data Collection Strategies

Archaeo-Geophysical Associates, LLC uses two basic strategies for data collection. GPS guided collection or Gridded collection. When conditions permit, RTK GPS (< 1 cm accuracy) or a robotic total station are used to guide the data collection. RTK GPS and robotic total stations allow larger areas to be surveyed in a shorter period of time. GPS guided data collection produces a geo-referenced data set that can be used for rapid location of anomalies for assessment. Topographical data is also recorded eliminating the need for additional site mapping. Sites appropriate for this type of survey include large open areas with little to no tree cover.

Benefits of Using GPS and Total Station Guided Collection
  • Does not require survey grids.
  • Increases the amount of area covered.
  • Reduces the amount of time needed for a survey.
  • Topographic data can be included in collection.

For smaller sites — or sites covered by trees data is collected in a series of square collection grids usually measuring 10, 20 or 30 meters on each side. Collecting data in grids does increase filed time, however, it also allows data to be collected with greater control. This is especially significant with smaller areas that will be targeted for excavation.

Benefits of Using Collection Grids
  • Higher sample densities can be achieved.
  • Greater flexibility on tree covered sites.

When possible a two-tired collection strategy is the preferred method. Data is collected at the landscape scale using GPS collection methods. After a preliminary analysis sub-sets of the survey area are collected at a higher sample density using collection grids. This provides the best balance between coverage and resolution of significant anomalies and archaeological features.

Benefits of Using a two-tired collection strategy
  • Provides a better balance between speed and detail.
  • Allows for archaeological analysis at multiple scales.