"Sherding" or any removal of antiquities from sites should never be done by anyone unless she or he is licensed to do so and unless there is an archaeological report published on it. Each successive removal removes something of the archaeological profile of the site and, ipso facto, diminishes it. Casual collectors should be discouraged. I would recommend, for those who still would like the thrill of discovery and the excitement of finding ancient artifacts on visits to sites to try using a a digital camera, especially with macro capabilities and take photos of objects picked up and placed back where they were found as soon as they are examined. The array of surface material is just as important as its presence on a site (see: Robert McCormick Adams' Land Behind Baghdad and the Uruk Countryside).
My other suggestion is that, should some very special object be found and the finder is capable of overcoming the lust of collecting, that its place be noted. Then it should be turned over to whatever legal authority is in charge of the site and responsible for curating its antiquities.
Eliot Braun, Ph D, masquerading as Dr Pangloss
Ha-oren 12, Har Adar 90836, Israel
Tel. 972-2-5345687 / 972-2-5704189
Cell: 972-50-223 1096
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, December 03, 2007 8:49 AM
Subject: [ANE-2] Re: repeat visit to sites
Clearly, one must revisit sites every few years if you want to start
understanding it. Experienced archaeological surveyers know that to get
a good "sherding representation" you have to return to a site several
times during the period of a regional survey. At different times of the
year (so as to get site exposure with different types of vegetation
coverage, etc.) and over a period of more than a year, so as to benefit
from various geomorphological changes. Surveys based on a one time
visit to sites in a given region, although without a doubt revealing
important evidence, represent only a small portion of the information
that is available on surface. In fact, very often, surveys with the
best information are those conducted over extended periods (in some
cases, decades), usualy by a local afficianados, in which sites are re-
visited time and again and one gets a truly in-depth knowledge of a
region, even if extensive excavations are not conducted.
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