Surface survey

method and strategies

Simon Holdaway*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Archaeological excavation takes time, and while it provides a great deal of information about the nature of past activities, it provides only indirect information on how these activities were distributed across space. Surface materials, on the other hand, are quicker to record not because the recording is any less detailed but because the material to be recorded is immediately visible. For a given set of resources, many more surface locations can be recorded and their contents analyzed. As a consequence, archaeologists working in many countries have conducted surface surveys over large areas. In doing so, they have taken advantage of advances in survey technologies like Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and total stations together with software like Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and relational databases to greatly enhance their ability to record the spatial distribution of artifacts and sites.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationField archaeology from around the world
Subtitle of host publicationideas and approaches
EditorsMartin Carver, Bisserka Gaydarska, Sandra Montón-Subías
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9783319098197
ISBN (Print)9783319098180
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameSpringerBriefs in Archaeology
ISSN (Print)1861-6623

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Surface survey: method and strategies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Holdaway, S. (2015). Surface survey: method and strategies. In M. Carver, B. Gaydarska, & S. Montón-Subías (Eds.), Field archaeology from around the world: ideas and approaches (pp. 27-32). (SpringerBriefs in Archaeology). Cham: Springer, Springer Nature.