Test Units

In areas of the site where shovel tests show high concentrations of artifacts, archaeologists open larger square excavations (usually 1 to 2 meters on a side). With more room to maneuver, the soil can be carefully peeled away, keeping artifacts from different layers separate. In these larger units, contrasting patterns of soil become apparent, indicating “features”or manmade disturbances such as pits, postholes, trenches, even traces of a plow cutting into the subsoil. These excavations provide a representative sample of artifacts from different locations on the lot, and allow a better view of the soil deposits.

Uncovering a brick foundation in a test unit.

Test unit