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SUMMER / FALL 2019      © 2019 812 Magazine

Bill Monaghan, archaeologist


Over 20 years have been spent studying various archaeological sites in Southern Indiana. Bill Monaghan shares with us the do's and don'ts of archaeological exploration.

Beware of the law.

It is illegal for non-professionals to dig up archaeological artifacts. Indiana law protects known and recorded sites, making them highly restricted. Overall, I discourage arrowhead collection because of the loss of information in the site.

Research always comes first.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to research first. You want to know what kind of sustenance people are using. You want to know what is in the subsurface of the site.

Mark your spot before you dig.

You always want to mark the area of excavation first before you break ground. Marking what is on the surface of the area helps to find the activity areas. Recording this helps design the experiment.

Record your progress.

As you begin digging and removing layers of the ground, mark off portions that have been dug up and investigated. Recording your progress is always important.

"Catch and Release."

If you are not working with an amateur organization, I highly recommend that you put back whatever you find. So much information can be lost from sites that have been mishandled.

Take the experience seriously.

Archaeology is not just a hobby. Large amounts of training and education go into this field of research.