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Field methods and techniques
We propose to study the evolution of modern human behavior in southern Africa. The main objective is to find new Middle Stone Age (MSA) sites that will shed light on the origins of behavioral traits thought to be hallmarks of modernity, e.g., use of pigments and beads for personal adornment and definition of individual and group identity, systematic use of bone, ivory and shell as artifacts, exploitation of coastal resources such as shellfish, fish and marine mammals, etc. The project includes a survey in Maputaland in southern Mozambique and testing and excavations of a known archaeological rockshelter, Caimane, with stratified Middle (MSA) and Late (LSA) Stone Age deposits, as well as other sites previously known (such as Great Naamacha where no testing has been carried out), from both the literature or from previous preliminary field work in 2011 and 2012.
Survey combines two methods: the first is a random stratified approach and the full coverage of those areas to be surveyed. These areas will be chosen based on the analysis of the geologic and topographic maps as well as aerial photos. The second is to favor those areas with easy access to natural resources essential for hunter-gatherers such as fresh water, chert, rhyolite or other knapping raw materials, different ecological niches where biomass is rich, and certain geological units, such as fluvial deposits, karstic environments, and coastal dunes. This approach focuses, thus, on environmental and geological diversity. The target areas are surveyed under high intensity.
Survey equipment includes high-precision GPS units as well as smartphones with a customized Android-based application installed, named ArcheoSurvey, developed by the team to meet the needs of ICArEHB's survey projects. The ArcheoSurvey app incorporates two main components: a geographic information component and a database component. The first includes a GPS recording capablity, used to record the location of sites, and the Map Viewer, used to check location of the surveyor on Google Maps and to see (if available) the limits of survey areas and paths. The database component seeks to replace the traditional paper forms since it includes a series of descriptive fields, as type of site, visibility, approximate chronology, etc.
The App and configuration files to be open in MIT App Inventor 2 (ai2.appinventor.mit.edu) are available below.
Soon will be available a help file for customization of the App in App Inventor.
For any questions please contact by email to jmcascalheira@ualg.pt 


Two main screens of ArcheoSurvey App.


Description File Size

ArcheoSurvey installation file (Updated October 2014)

1.84 Mb
ArcheoSurvey configuration file (Updated October 2014)

396 Kb