Going Over Old Ground: Archaeological Survey in Jordan Then and Now
Edward Banning [+]
University of Toronto
When Burton Macdonald began the Wadi al-Hasa Survey in 1979, the methods and theory of archaeological survey were undergoing substantial revision in light of innovations first explored in North America, but beginning to gain ground in Mediterranean regions. The Wadi al-Hasa Survey was one of the first in Jordan to experiment with explicit sampling frames and more intensive fieldwalking at a time when most surveys there were still “windshield surveys” conducted mainly from vehicles. Soon most Jordanian surveys were employing similar sampling and fieldwalking methods so that they became the new standard as a stream of projects documented thousands of previously unrecorded sites. However, consumers of data from these surveys should be using them critically, with attention to variations in intensity, coverage, and visibility. Recent advances in survey theory and some recent field-tests of these theories demonstrate that post-fieldwork evaluation is necessary if we are to draw convincing conclusions about settlement patterns and especially about alleged absences of archaeological resources.