Artifact visibility at open sites in Western New South Wales, Australia

Patricia C. Fanning, Simon J. Holdaway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Surface visibility is a significant constraint in archaeological survey, and estimates of surface visibility are a common addition to cultural resource management reports. Despite this, relatively few studies have attempted to identify the factors affecting visibility and quantify their effects. We report the results of such a study based on analysis of surface stone artifacts deposited by prehistoric hunter-gatherers from the Stud Creek area in what is now Sturt National Park, western New South Wales, Australia. While we are able to demonstrate and quantify relationships between high artifact visibility and erosional surfaces, and low visibility and vegetated or depositional surfaces, our findings also indicate a high degree of local variability. This variability sometimes obscures the predicted relationships. The outcome of this research leads us to question the way some sampling designs for archaeological survey are constructed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-271
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Field Archaeology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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