Keay, S., Creighton, J. and Jordan, D.
Sampling ancient towns
Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 10, (3), . (doi:10.1111/j.1468-0092.1991.tb00026.x).
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Until comparatively recently the archaeological study of ancient towns had been largely conditioned by urban development or individual research interests. This is especially true of Mediterranean sites whose especial richness has generated most attention upon their monumental aspect. Such work provides us with only partial glimpses of urban landscapes which are by definition complex and dynamic. An increasing awareness of this in recent years has led to archaeologists explicitly adopting sampling based strategies when confronting ancient towns. This paper attempts to outline the sampling-based research design employed at a multi-period town site in southern Spain. The integrated use of topographical survey, systematic surface sherding and geophysics provided a valuable insight into the spatial patterning of surface and sub-surface archaeological features. This allowed a hypothesis about the ancient topography of the town to be proposed and for it to be successfully tested by open-area excavation.
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