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FACULTAD D e F I L o s o F / A y L
MUSEO ETNOGRÁFICO
BIBLIOTECA

SAMERICAN AN
VOI.UME 29 APRIL 1964 Nl'MBKR 4

A CONSIDERATION OF ARCHAEOLOGíCAL RESEARCH DESIGN*


LE\VIS R

AiiMR.Mrr 4). A cuhural system is a set of constant or


It is argucd that the methodology mo.st appropriate cyclically repetitive"a?tTculations betwecn the so-
or the task of ¡solating and studyinu processes of cul- cial, technological, and idcological extrasomatic,
ural change and evolution is one which is regional in
¡cope and cxecnted with the aid of research dcsigns
adaptive means available to a human population
'. on the principies of probability sampling. The (White 1959: 8). The intimatc systemic articu-
anous types of observational populations which archae- lation of localities, facilitics, and tools with
• Oc4oí;ists must
n study a r e discusscd, toyethcr with an cvalu- specific tasks pcrformcd by social scgments re-
íntion of the methodological diffcrences attendant u pon sults in a strticturcd sct of spatial-formal rcla-
-fndequatc and reliable investigación of each. Two basic
IsamplinK' universes are discusscd, the región and the site, tionships in the archaeological record. People
"ftogcthcr with their mcthodoloyical and rescarch-dcsign do not co-opcrate in exactly the same \vay when
Jpcciiliarities. Thesc are uscd as a basis for discussiofl and pcrforming different tasks. Similarly, different
.Ipast and currcnt rcscnrch programs are evalunted in tcrms tasks are not uniformly carried on at the same
' fof \vhnt nrc believcd to be major limitations in obtainins;
ithe "facts" pcrtinent to studies of cuhural processes. locations. As tasks and co-opcrating grotips vary,
~. ~Í so do the implcments and facilities (Wagncr
1
, :\ TT SEEMS FA1R to generalize that archaeolo- 1960: 88-117) of task performance. The loss,
•'á JL gists are becoming more interested in the ex- brcakage, and abandonmcnt of implcments and
íplanatory potential which studies of paleoccol- facilitics at different locations, where groups of
I«"V> paleodemography, and evolution offer for variable s t r u c t u r e performed different tasks,
. f incrcasing oür understanding of formal and leaves a "fossil" record of the actual operntion
Estructural chnnfe in cultural systems. Severa! of an extinct society. This fossil record may be
f amhropologists have recognized a growing inter- read in the q u a n t i í a l i v e i y variable spatial clus-
|est in questions dealing with the isolation of con- terings of formal classes of artifacts. \Ve may not
¡ditions and mechanisms by which cultural always be able to state or determine what spé-
Ichanges are brought about (Adams 1960; Draid- cific activities resulted in observed difFerenti?!
fwood 1959; Haag 1959; Steward 1960). In short, distributions, but wc can recognire that activities
"¿jwe scek answers to some "how and why" qucs- were diffcrentiated and determine the formal na-
" Itions in additionto the "what, where, and when" ture of the observable variability. I have arguecí
questions so characteristically asked by archae- elsewhere (Binford'1962: 219) that we can re-
ologists. This paper is concerned with present- cover, both from the nature of the populations of
ing certain methodological suggestions, some of artifacts and ffom their spatial associations, the
which must be adopted if we are to. make prog- fossilhed structure of the tota! cultural system.
ress in the study of processes and move archae- The archaeological structure of a culture should,
ology into the "explanarory level" of develop- and in my opinión does, reflcct al! other struc-
ment (Willey and Phillips 1958: 4-5). tures, for cxamplc, kinship, economic, and politi-
In any general discussion of method and cal. All are abstracted from the events which-
theory there is inevitably an argumentativa bias occur as part of the normal functioning of a cul-
¡¿X¡¿ on the part of the writer. It should be pointed tural system. The archaeological structure results \.
out that I believe the isolation and study of cul- from these same events. The definition of this^1
tural systems, rather rhan aggregates of culture- structure and the isolation of the archaeological
traits, is the only mcaningful approach to under- remains of a cultural system are viewed as re-
standing cultural processes (Steward 1960: 173- search objectives. Such an isolation can be made
by the demonstration of consistent between-class
* This pnpcr was presented at the Annual Mectinj; of correlations and mutual co-variations among
the Society for American Archaeology at the University
of Colorado, Boulder. Colorado, May, 1963. classes of artifacts and othcr phenomcna. 1 he .
•~'- •í:5
AM/:KICAN T ANTÍQI//TV [ \\<t.. >). No. 4, 1964

: isolation and dcfinition of cxtinct c u l t u r a l .sys- cxtent of such regions will vary because it is
. tems, both in tcrms of content and demonstra- recogni:ed t h a t c u l t u r a l systems diífer grcatly in
' ble pattcrns'of m u t u a l formal-spatial co-varia- the limits of their adaptive range and milieu.
-tion, can be accomplished. Once accomplishcd, As cultural systems become more complex, they
such an archaeologica! structure is amenable to gencrally span g r c a t e r ecológica! ranges and
analysis in tcrms of fonn and complcxity; in enter into more complex, widespread, extraso-
sliort, we can spcak of culture types. Methocls cietal intcraction. The isolation ancl definición'"!
for correlating archaeologically defined c u l t u r e of the contení, the stnicnirc, and the range of ¡
types with structural forms defined ¡n terms of a c u l t u r a l system, together w i t h its ecológica! i
behavioral attributes can be developed. When relationships, may be viewed as a rosearen oh- .
this is accomplishcd, archaeologists and "social J_ecti_v£. Admittedly it is an obje"cfive~\vrnch_ J
anthropologists" will be in the position to make may or may ñor be successfully accomplished
joint contributions to the solution of common under any given research design. The research
nnthropological problems, a condftion thnt hard- design should be aimed at the accomplishment
ly obtains today. of this isolation which, I beüeve, is most profit-
In addition to m a i n t n i n i n g the position that ably prosecuted w i t h i n a regional unir ot invcsti-
we should strive to bolate the archaeological gation. Undcr c u r r e n t programs of salvage ar-
s t r u c t u r e of extinct c u l t u r a l systems, ir is argued chaeology and increased íoundation support for
t h a t chances in c u l t u r a l systems must be investi- archaeological research, we are being given the
ga ted with regard to the adapnvc or coping situ- opportunity to study major regions intensively.
ations which are presented to h u m a n popula- In spire of the opportunities c u r r e n t l y available,
tions. If we are profitably to study process, wc it is my impression that very l i t t l e thought has
must be able to isolate c u l t u r a l systems and been given to research clesign. Methods a n d -
study them in their a d a p t i v e milieu conccivcd approaches u f i l i z e t l in such investigations scem
in terms of physical, biological, and social cli- to be l i t t l e more than expanded or greatly en-
mcnsions. The physical and biological dimen- larged field sessions of the type t b a t has tradi-
.sions neecl litrle c x p l a n a t i o n because anthropolo- t i o n a l l y characterired A m e r i c a n nrchai-oloiricp!
gists are f a m i l i a r w i t h the problems of the na- data collection. Fo be sure, the work may be
ture and stability of natural environment and in neater, more atrention may be given to stratig-
the physical and demogrnphic human basis of raphy, more classes of phenomena may be ob-
c u l t u r a l systems. Hovvever, íhe social dimen- servecl and collected than in the field work o!
sión is frcquently excluded from considerations years past; yet the general methocls of data coi-
of adaptación. The re is h u l e neecl to belabor the lection and observa tion remain unchanged. I
point t h a t as the density and 1 comple.xity of sep- wish to argüe that current lack of concern with
árate socio-cultural sysiems increase within a the development of planned research dcsigns
major geographic roñe, the cultural means for generally obvia tes the recovery of data perrinent
a r t i c u l a t i n g and "adjusting" one society with to questions which derive from current theo-
another become more complex. Certainly the retical intcrcsts. Investigatory tools must fit the
coping situations and.hence the adaptive stresses job; current field procedures werc developed t;1
associatccl with a changing pattcrn of socio- provide data relevanr to a limitcd number oí
political distribution within a major zone must problems. Concern has bcen with problems of
be considered when attempting to understand stylistic chronological placement and histórica!
changes in any given system (Gearing 1962). continuity bctwecn and among archaeologically
í~Xs long as "cultures" are defined in terms of defined units. The methodological tools devel-
stylis_tic similarity, and the qucstion of possible oped fvir the investigación of such problems are
j Bifferences in the material inventory of func- inappropriate for supplying información rele-
í tional classes and in the internal structure of the vant to our broadening research intereses in
i assemblage is unanswered, there is little possi- cultural processes.
; bility of dealing realistically with questions of
( process. It is a system that is th'e seat of process. MHTHODOLOGICAI. PROBLHM ÁREAS
.'C Because of these convictions I will frequently Laymen frequently ask: "What are you dig-
mention the "regional approach" or the detailed ging for?" I think most of us will agree that we
and systematic study of regions that can be ex- are digging to recover facts for the elucidation oí
pected to have supported cultural systems. The past cultures. In the absence of explicit state-
BlNFORD ] ARCHAEOLOG/CAL RESEARCH DESKW 417

ments conccrning the kinds oí facts which ar- not excávate every location which yields surface
chaeologists hope to obtain, we can only assume indications. What are the rneans whereby we /
that we know how to recoVer the "pertinent" select certain sites for excavation and not others? j_
ones. Most of us will agrec that this is not true._ A quick revicw of 37 regional reports spanning
I not only have becn unable to use other investi- the period from 1954 to 1963 failed to revcal a
gators' data, but I have also frequently found single exposition by the authors as to the criteria
my own data lacking in many important "facts" thcy utilized in selecting sites for excavation. A
— facts which could have been collected had I typical statement may read as follows:
been aware of the questions to which the given Durinií this time a total of 51 sites was located in sur-
observation was rclevant. For instance, I re- vey \vork and 13 of the more important sites were exca-
cently wanted to demónstrate that most of the vatcJ to some extent.
sites in a particular área were located adjacent It is my impression that there is no single set
to streams. This was impossihle beca u se I had of criteria for selecting "important" sites. Some
no data as to where the archaeologist reporting archaeologists seicct sites because they represent
on the arca had concentrated his survey efforts. a time period. Others are selected because they
Was the failure to report sites in áreas not adja- are largc and productive. Certainly some have
cent to streams the result of sites being absent, been excavated because they were accessible to
or was it simply a lack of investigación in those inodern roads. Despitc the lack of systematic
áreas not adjacent to streams? In another in- statement, it is rcpeatedly mentioned that sites
stance, I wanted to compare the relative density are representative or that they are large and
of Middle Woodland sites in two majar river yield much material. Less frequently, economy
basins in order to make statements about the is cited as a reason for selecting a particular site.
relntive occupational intensity in the two áreas. Although it is not commonly cxpressed, wc may
This was impossible because I was unable to generali:e that archaeologists want representa-
determine whether or not the reponed differen- tire and reliable data u'irrun the bmmds of tlieir
tial densities were the result of diffcrences in the rcstrictcd time and mnnctary rcsoitrces. This
intensity of survey, presencc or nbsencc of forest is practicnlly the definition of the aims of mod-
cover ;ifl°ccting ¡lie likchhood of silo.-- being recog- ern sampling procedures. Sampling, ¡is iised
ni:ed, or difFerential aboriginal use of the valleys here, does not mean the mere substitution of
under consiclcration. Such unccrtninties make a partial coverage for a total coverage. It is the
it obvious that we are concerned with answering science of controlling and measuring the relia-
questions for whicli our resenrch desipns, field bility of Information through the theory of prob-
methods, anci reporting procedures are not adc- ability (Deming 1950: 2). Certainly we are all
quate to supply the "pertinent facts." Such aware t h n t we must substituto partial coverage
a situation cannot be prevented entirely, but we for complete coverage in our investigador!. Giv-
can strive to devise techniques for gathering the en this situation, there is only onc currently
facts which are pertinent to questions currently known means for accomplishing coverage so
being asked of our data. As the general theo- that the result s can be evaluated as to their re-
retical developmem within archaeology goes for- l i a b i l i t y in renresentation of the population in-
ward, more and more fncts previotisly ignored vestigated. This is through the application of
will be recogniíed as important and pertinent. sampling theory in the development and execu-
We can look forward to continucd concern with tion of tlata-collecting programs.
keeping our investigatory tools sufñcient to the
tnsk; in short, we will be increasingly involved
in the development of new and improved re-
search designs and methodologies by means of !n this discussion of sampling we shall incro-
which they may be opcrationalized. cluce certain terms that are used by writers on
One clue to a "methoclological problem área" sampling and attendant statistica! problcms. A
in our current prácticos can be found in another nrm-er5c is the isolated field of stucly. In most
qucstion which laymcn are apt to nsk: "How do cases archacological field work is conducted
yon know where to dig?" My answer to such a within a universo of tcrritory, a univcrse spa-
question is that we dig where there are surfacc tinlly defined. A ¡>o¡ntlation consists of an aggre-
indications of past occupations or cultural ac- gate of analytica! units within the universe so
t i v i t y - — a secmingly accurnte answer, yet we do that, p.t least in principie, each unit may be as-
AMER/CAN ANTíQU/TY [ Voi.. 29, No. -í, 1964

jgned a dcfinite location for n given unir of (1) The population to be sampled and the units com-
¡me. The population has a distribution in space posing it must be clcnrly clefincd so that thcre will he no
question as to whnt the sample represems.
pnsisting of the aggrcgate of individual locn-
¡ons (Duncan and others 1961: 21). In addi- (i) A universe pnrtitioned by 3 frame composed of
m a n y small uniís is prcfcrablc to one composed of fewer
jon to a distribution, we can speak of the sf>a- but larger units. This is a safegiiard against accidental
ial stntctiirc of a population. S.tructure sug- inclusión of nn unreprcsentative amount of "hetcro-
íests a pattern of interrelationships among dis- gcneity" in anv given sample.
¡inguishable parts of an organi:cd whole (Dun- (3) The u n i t s of the frame should be approximatcly
pn and others 1961: 2), and for our purposcs cqual in si:e. This climinates bias which could result
[he spatial structure of archaeological popula- from a systematic relationship between the structure and
the si:e of íhe population.
tions derives from the complex interrelation-
ships between people, activities, and material (4) All units should be indepcndent of cach other
so that if one is drawn for sampling, it will in no way
¡Ítems within a cultural system. In addition, we affect the choice of another.
¡níay speak of the /orm o/ a population, which is
(5) The same units should be used in sampling, tabu-
jthe nature and quantitatively variable consti- lation, and analysis. A sample of mounds is of no use if
jtution of subclasses and the relative frequency generalirations abotit general site distributions are bein.e
¡of analytical units. attempted.
'( The application of the method of probability (6) The universe musr be present or cataloíied so t h a t
i snmpling presupposes that a universe can be sub- cvery unir in it is listed or can be given an identifying
symbol.to be used durin<,' the drawing of a sample. For
| divided into distinct and identifiable units called instance, a grid system is estabiished with 12 ten-foot
I sample units. These units may be natural units, squares on a side, and 20 of the 144 squares nre chosen
i such as sites or individual projectile points, or for excavatiún by a random method. Later, ir is decided
to extend the Rricl system six more squares in one direc-
! thcy may be arbitrary units, such as 6-inch levéis tion. fhe enlarged system does not havc the random
in an excavation, or surface áreas deftned by a characrer of íhe sample drawn under the frame deftned
prid system. Regardless of the basis for defini- hy the original grid system.
tion, the application of the method of probability (7) The inctb^c! of (!r;iwin>? the snmple .should be
sampling presupposes the availability of a list of complctcly indcpendcnt of the characteristics to be ex-
amined.
all the potential sample units within the uni-
(S) In order for the sample to remain random, evíry
verse. This list is called the jrame and provides u n i t drawn must be accessible. For instance, in the case
the basis for the actual selection of the sample where a site has been selected for sampling and the prop-
units to be investigated. The frame varíes with erty owncr refuses permission to dig, inaccessibility biases
the nature of the archaeological population the sample. This is particularly true because refusa! of
pcrmission may be rclatcd to ideas of the "valué" of
undcr investigation. When a population of sites materials on his property relative to those on otlurrs'
is sampled, the frame is normally a list of sites property.
within a stated universe, such as the alluvial With these ¡írinciples serving as a background,
bottoms of the Rock River between two specified we can turn to a discussion of types of sampling
points. When partial coverage of a population and their ranges of applicability to archaeologi-
within a stated universe is attempted, the sample cal i n v e s t i g a t i o n . Althcugh there are many
units are selected from the frame so that all types of .sampling, only two will be discussed:
units of the frame have an equal chance of bc- simple random sampling and stratiñed sampling.
ing choscn for investigation; the selection is gov-
erned by the "laws of chance" alone, maximir- SIMPLE RANDOM SAMPLING
ing the reliability of the sample. This is by far the simplest of the methods of
Before we approach the subject of different probability sampling. It implies that an equal
methods of probability sampling and their range probability of selection is assigned to each unit
of application in archaeological research, cer- of the frame at the time of sample selection.
tain principies which underlie and guide the re- The term random refers to the method of select^l
search design aimed at the proper and emcient ing the sample units to be investigated rather j
execution of sampling techniques will be men- than to the method of investigating any given ¡
tioned. This presentation is adapted from a sec- unit. A practical procedure for selecting a ran- (
tion entitled "Types of Sampling" by Parten dom sample is by utilizing a table of random
(i95oy: numbers (Arkin and Colton 1957: 142). Thel
BlNFORU ' ARCHAEOLOG/CAL RESEARCH DES/GN

^ v
procedure is to (1) determine the number of' economy is greatly affecto^by fkfi^purnber of
units in the frame, identifying them serially subclasses into which the recoverea data will be
from one to (n); (2) determine the desired size divided. For instance, in the case of a sample
of the sample, that is, actual number of units to of ceramics composed of 100 sherds, it is likely
be investigated; (3) select the required series of that if only two "types" are represented, the
numbers from the table of random numbers sample may be sufficient to give a fairly reliable
(the required series is the number determined estímate of the relative proportions of the two
sufficient to constitute a representative sample of types in the population. On the other hand, if
the population); and (4) investígate those units within the sample there are 15 "types,". then the
in thc frame that corrcspond to the numbers reliability of the sample as an estímate of the
drawn from the table of random 'numbers. It relative proportions of the recognized types in
cannot be overemphasized that this is a tcch- the parent population is very low. A further
nique for selccting the units to be investigated caution applies to samples drawn from multi-
and does not refer tp the procedures used in component sites where there are clearly several
gathering the data. recognizable populations of sepárate historical
origin. In thc latter case, some of the subclasses
STRATIKIED SAMPLING are independent of one another, and any given
It can be shown that the precisión of a sam- subclass may be representative of only one of the
ple depcnds upon two factors: (1) the size of múltiple historical populations. Also, in the lat-
thc sample and (2) the variability or hetero- tcr case, sample size must be determined by the
geneity of the population being sampled. If wc relative frequencies of the smallest independent
desire to increase the precisión, aside from in- subclass. In other words, sample size should be
creasing thc sample size, wc may devise means large enough to give reliable measures of the
which will effectively reduce the heterogeneity smallest important brcakdowns made within the
of the population. One such procedure is known sample. If the population is relatively homo- ]
as the method of stratified sampling. The pro- gencous, thcn sample size may be relatively'
ccdure io to p a r t i u ü n thc u n i v e i s e or divide ií smnli nnd stil! relinblc. On thc othrr hnnd, if
into classes, each of which is treated as an inde- the population is heterogencous, more observa-
pendent sampling viniverse from which simple tions are needed to yicld reliable data.
random samples are drawn, following thc meth- This discussion of sampling is very elemen-
qds outlined above. This procedure has a num- tary, but enough has bccn presented to serve as
ber of advantages. Classes may be established a bnsis for evaluation of the types of observa-
with regare! to different variables that one wishcs tional populations which archaeologists investí-
to control, which makes possible the reliable gate and thcir invcstigatory pcculiarities as a
cvaluation of variability in other phenomcna basis for further discussion of research clesign.
with respect to the class-defining variables.
As has bcen suggested, the size of the sample BASIC UNITS OF ARCHAEOI.OGICAL OBSHRVATION'
is an important factor for consideration in striv- Albcrt Spaulding has provided us wíth a
ing for reliability in the sample as representative classic statement of what we as archaeologists
of the population. An optimum sample is one are doing, thereby setting forth an operational
which is efficient, representative, reliable, and definition of thc field of archacology. Spauld-
flexible. The sample size should be small enough ing's introductory statement is reproduced here
to avoid unnecessary expense and large enough
as a point of departure for further discussion
to avoid cxcessive error. To arrive at a sample
size which is considered optimum in terms of of archacological data collection.
the above criteria, there are a numbcr of factors A scicnce deals with some class of objects or events in
which must be considered, each largely inte- tcrms of some spcciiicd dimensions of the objects or
evctus. Tile simplest (and most elegant) of the sciences,
grated with thc other rather than independent. mechanics, has all physicnl objects as its center of at-
Each will vary, in different sampling situations, tention, and the dimensions of thesc objecrs as studied are
as to thcir relative importance in influencing de- Icngth, mass, and time; ¡.e., roughly speaking mechanics
cisions about thc appropriate sample size. Of has thrce kinds of mcasuring instruments: a yardstick, a
ser of scnles, and a clock. The imerrelaüonships and trans-
particular importance to archaeologists is thc formations of mcasuremcnts with thcsc scales is the bus¡-
rcalization t h n t the size of the sample neccssary ncss of mechanics. It is clcar that prchistoric archaeology
to mect normal requirements of reliability and ¡tlso has a class of objects, artifncts, as its center of atten-
r
AMÍiK/CA.Y A.YT/yU/TV \'oi.. :y, N'o. 4, 1964

lion. The conccpt "anifnct" prcsupposcs tile idea of cul- r-ay that such intorniation is not crucial to intcr-
iurc, which I will trc;it as a «¡ven. Thus wc can define an pretation of the formal propcrties, only thnt the
artifact as any material resille of cultural behavior. SÍIKC
cultural behavior is our ultímate referent, it follows that formal properties thcmselvcs are independent of
wc are interestcd in only ihosc properries, ch.iracteristics, tho matrix and provenience associations.
a^pccts, and a t t r i h u r e s of artifacts which are the rcsult of The form of the cultural itcm may vary in
or havc a M^nificam relatiou to c u l t u r a l behavior. \Vhat icrms of the function of the itcm as an element
are the dimensions of artifacts whosc interrclationshlp.s
are the spccial busincss of archaeolocy? Pl'ainly there are in the cultural system, for cxample, technologi-
two in ihc stricr sense of dimensión: time and spacc. \\'c cnlly (manufacturing techniques and raw ma-
want to know where and \vhcn artiíacts werc made, uscJ, terials) or stylistically.
and deposited. Plainly there is nnothcr class of dimen- The sampling universo for the investigation of
sions fundamental to archaeo!of:¡cal study; tlie many di-
mensions which are sets of physio-chcmical propcrties of populations of cultural items is necessarily the
the artifacts. Wc can firoup them for convenicnt rcfer- site. The sampling and field-observation proce-
cnce undcr the Inbcl, formal propcrtic?, and collectively dures utilired do not alfect our ability to analyíe
as the formal dimensión. \Ve are now ¡n a position to de- items formaliy, but they greatly affecc our ability
fine archaco'iocy ns the study of the imerrelationships and to study the tlistribution, form, and structure of
transformations of artifacts with rcspcct ro the formnl,
temporal, and .spatial dimensions. As a footnotc, forma! a ¡'o^nlaiion oj cnlturaí ¿tenis. It will be re-
and spatial attributes can be observe*.! directly, but tem- membered that a population necessarily has spa-
poral attributes are ahvays infcrred from formal and tial attribute.s both in its distribution and its
sp.itial attributes. Indócil strictly spcaking artifacts are structure. Sampling control is therefore neces-
objccts and do not have temporal attributes — they mere-
ly exist. But artifact? do imply cvents, and events do have
sary to próvido data for the description of pop-
the property of occurriní,' at a definitc time, so whcn wc ulations of cultural items. Wc as anthropolo-
spealc of the t e m p o r a l a t t r i h u t e s of an a r t i í a c t , \vc uists hope to be able to assess rhe range of formal
rcally refer to an inlerencc abolir some event or proco-- variability in classes oí cultural Ítems and to
implicJ by the formal and/or spatial attributes of the a r t i - study their distribution and populación struc-
fact. This lenvcs us with describíng and orderiní: formal
and spatial attributes as the primary task. These are the ture in terms of spatial clusters of quantitatively »»
cmpirical data of archaeolony and this describing and variant class nssociations. It is necessary to de- \
o r J e r i n ^ are prcrccj'jisitc to the chronoloijical i n f e r c n c c ^ lino nccurately tTTé7 range of formal variation
(Spaulding, mimcoyrapheJ versión, rcvised 196C: 437-9). \vithin classes ot cultural ítems as woll asj'ela-
Artifacts as a class of phenomena rcpresent tíve frcqu¿!icjes among recognized classes with-
a number of different typcs of populations which TrrThe~population. Whilc excavating, we have
are definable in terms of their spatial, formal, or no precise knowledge of the boundarics of the
spatial and formal attrihutes takcn in combina- population of cultural ítems being investigated,
ción. Because of the different nature of arti- and we generally sample in terms of areal units
fnctual populations, investigation of the several designed to cover the tcrritory defined by the
recognizable populations must differ as regareis presence of artifncts. We are sampling "artífact
the appropriatc mcnns to provicle the nccessary space" as a means to both definición and segre-
information for their formal, spatial, and tem- gation of populations of cultural ítems. We can
poral analysis. The several classes of artifactunl only accomplish this through cxcrcising tight
populations recogni:ed hcre will be termcd ty/x's spatial controls for gaining information neces-
oj observational ¡w^nlations, since it is argued sary to the analytic determinación of what cul-
that different sampling techniques, and henee tural items are, spatially and temporally clust-
research strategy, are necessary for the investiga- ercd one with another and with other arti-
tion of each. factual materials. Such insights are a clue to the
"role playcd" by various items in the operation
POPULATIONS oi: CULTURAL ITF.MS of cxtinct cultural systems. Similarly, the same
control is necessary to the definition of the spa-
Cultural items are discrete cntities, the formal tial structure and form of the population. We
charactenstics of which are at least partially the want to utilire techniques which will insure re-
result of cultural activity or events. A further liable and representative data regarding the
qualiíication is that the formal charactenstics of range of formal variability within a given sub-
the ítem are not altered through removal from class of cultural items, the content of the popu-
their matrix; they are transportable and may lation of cultural items defined by the relative
be formally analyzed without recourse to infor- frequencies of the recognized classes, and the
mation aboiu their provenience. This is not to structure of the populatíon defined by the spa-
BlNFORD ] ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH DESIGN 431

tial structure of between-class associations of Sources of error which frequently arise in


Ítems and other classes of artifacts. sampling such populations are (1) incompleta
lError arising in the sampling of populations and nonrepresentative coverage of the "artifact
of cultural ítems normally results from (1) in- space" so that, while the number of recovered
complete and nonrepresentative coverage of the features may be large, there is no way of demon-
universe; (2) failure to partition the universe strating or determining whether the between-
so that a single undifferentiated collection is class frequencies are representative of the popu-
made, thereby excluding the possibility of invcs- lation present; (2) samples are far too small to
tigating the homogeneity or heterogeneity of the • allow adequate evaluation of the variability rep-
population; or (3) samples are far too small resented in a given class of features or to yield
to allow the adequate evaluation of the varia- reliable estimatcs of the between-class relative
bility represented in a givcn class of cultural frequencies.
Ítems or to yield a reliable estímate of the be-
tween-class relative frequencies. POPULATIONS OF CULTURAL ACTIVITY
Locí: SITES
POPULATIONS OF CULTURAL FEATURES
The site is a spatial cluster of cultural features
Cultural features are bounded and qualita- or ítems, or both. The formal characteristics
tively isolated units that cxhibit a structural as- of a site are defined by its formal content and
sociation between two or more, cultural Ítems the spatial and associational structure of the
and types of nonrecovcrable or composite mat- populations of cultural Ítems and features pres-
rices. The cultural feature cannot be formally ent.
analyzed or at least formally observed after its (1) Nitc's víiry IR their <¡<.'/)<«¡n<ma¡ contc'.vr.
dissection in the field. Many of the formal ol> Sites e.xhibiting primary depositionaj^context
servations must be made while the fenture is be- have not been altcrccTTn thcir fóYínal propcrties
ing excavated. Features include such classes of cxcept through the natural proccsses of the de-
remains as burials, mouncls, structurcs, pits, and cay of or^anic material, or the physico-chcmical
hcartbs. Formal vanauons aniong cultura! íca- alteration of features and ítems since the penoü
tures are depcndent upoii (1) thcir functions of occupnncy. Sites e.xhibiting secondary dcposi-
within the represented cultural system, (2) tecli- tional context are those whose formal character-
nology in terms of the raw matcrials utilired in istics, defined in terms of soils, features, and
their production, (3) alterations occurring as a ítems, have been spatially altered through physi-
rcsult of their participation in other natural sys- cal movement or delction from the locí. Some
tenis, for example, organic decay, (4) their cul- or possihly all of the original associations be-
tural history (how óften thcy were parts of suc- twcen the various classes of artifacts have been
cessive cultural events, rcsulting in their repair, changecl. This disruption in the structure of the
secondary modification, and dcstruction), and site may havc occurrcd through the agency of
. (5) stylistic variation. Ünlike cultural Ítems, erosión, geophysical changcs, or through dcstruc-
the cultural feature cannot be formally dcfincd tion as a result of later cultural activity. Sites
without precisé and detailed obscrvntion and with primary depositional context yield the most
"analysis" in the field. The field investigator complete archaeological record. Howcvcr, sites
must at least make decisions as to what attri- with secondary depositíonal context must fre-
butes are culturally rclcvant and meaningful q u e n t l y be studied in order to understand the
prior to beginning field obscrvation and record' regional distributíon of activity loci. -*
ing. This adds an additional field burdcn to the
normal cxercise of sampling control character- (2) Siri'i" vflry in thcir tíc'/iosírioiuií history.
istic of the investiíjation of cultural Ítems. The culturally dependent characteristics of a
As in the case of cultural Ítems, the sampling site may have been the result of a single short-
universe for populations of c u l t u r a l features is term occtipation, a single long-term occupation,
múltiple occupation over a rathcr limited tem-
the site. Similarly, our sampling p r o c e d u r e s
poral span, múltiple occupations over an ex-
should insure reliable and rcprcsentative data
regarding (1) the variability within any class of tended period of time, or combinations of all
features, (2) the formal content of the popula- of these.
tion of features, and (3) the structure of the (3) Sites vary in thcir culture history. Sites
population of c u l t u r a l features. exhibiting a complex depositional history may
H32 AMERICAN ANT/QÜ/TY \'o[.. 29, Xo. 4, 1964

ar may ñor exhibit a complex cultural history. is the methodological aim of sampling a uni-
i site could be repcatedly occupied by repre- verse of sites regionally clefined.
intatives of the same stable socio-cultural sys- Two major sources of error arisc in the inves-
[tcm for the same purposes, in which case there tigation of site pópulatioñsTThe first source of er-¡
jmay be a complex depositional history with a ror is incompleto and nonrepresentative cover-¡
[simple cultural history. Similarly, a site with a age of the range of variation represented amongi
jsimple depositional history may exhibit a com- sites within the universe.This ariscs inevitably as
jplex cultural history, for example, an extended a result of the "selection" of sites for investi-
I long-term occupation spanning a period of major gation on the basis of criterin othcr than thosc of
Estructural changes in the cultural system. A the method of probabílity sampling. For instancer
¡single locus may be sequentially occupied by sites are frequently selected because of a high
¡ social units of different socio-cultural or socio- density of cultural ítems almost to the exclusión
> polítical units, adding to the complexity of the of sites with low density. The density of cultural
cultural history of the site. ítems at a site is a formal attribute of the specific
activity loci and is only relevant to the selection
(4) Sites and arcas irithm sites vary /imcnon-
of sites for excavation as an attribute in a pro-
ally. Since sites are the result of cultural activi-
visional site typology. A given universe may
ties performed by social units within restricted
spatial bounds, we would expect them to van- have very few sites with dense conccntrations
formally as a function of the activities of the of cultural Ítems, while the number of sites ex-
social units represented. It is a known and de- hibiting less-densc concentrations may be quite
high. In this case, the sample of sites for investi-
monstrablc fact that socio-cultural systems vary
gation must he composed of a proportionally
in the degree to which social segments per form
highcr number of sites exhibiting low dcnsities
specialized tasks, as well as in the cyclical pat-
of cultural Ítems. The second source of error is
tern of task performance at any given location.
failure to sample with sufficient intensity to
These differences have spatial correlates with
yield a reliable mcasure of the variability present
renard to the loci of tnsk performance; henee we
in the population. Inadequate sample size meas-
"c.xpect sites to vary íormally and spatially with ured by the number of invcstigated sites is une
regard to the nature of the tasks performed at of the major sources of error. Ideally, a sam-
cach, and the social composition of the units ple of sites shoultl be adequate to represent the
performing the tasks. formal range of variability in site form, the rela-
^ All possible combinations of the above-men- tive frequencies of recognized site types, and
tioned basic forms of variation may occur at their spatial structuring within the universe.
sites which archaeologists investígate. Archae-
POPULATIONS OF ECOFACTS
ologists must be prcparecl to make the pertinent
obscrvations necded to define the form and In addition to the investigation of cultural
structure of the populations of artifacts and cul- Ítems, features, and activity loci, we must sam-
turally relevant nonartifactual material present, ple populations of ecofacts. Ecofact is the term
and to isolate the form and structure of his- applicd to all culturally relevant nonartifactual
torically different archaeological assemblages data. Cultural systems are adaptive systems,
represented. Unlike populations of cultural and in order to understand their operation and
Ítems or features where the normal universe \ the processes of their modification, we must be
in a position to define their adaptive milieü. All
is the site, the sampling universe for populations >.
j:hose.£lement«-w.m'chjepres£ntj^Jniorrn about
of sites is of necessity a región. Once the archae-^jí
the £OÍ04:s<.pX articulation'between the cultural
ologist has determined the relative homogeneity "systém and otlie?vriátu'rat^y1^eTft^rrrasrbé^
of the sampled site population as regards the píélS^Thls^^Ti^exTrlíi^ély^
historical and functional nature of the archae- archaeological data collection and is accom-
ological assemblage present, he is in a position panied by many field complications in terms of
to consider the nature of the site as a whole and methods of observation and sampling. The gen-
to classify it within a typology of sites (based on eral class of ecofacts can be broken down into
the attributes of both the form of the artifactual many subclasses representing different popula-
elements present and the structure of their spa- tions, such as pollen,; soil, and animal bone,
tial and formal associations). Such an approach each with specific attendant sampling problems.
BlNFORD ] ARCHAEOLOG/CAL RESEARCH DES1CN 433

However, for the purpose of this presentation, concerned themselves with vertical spatial
we will consider ecofacts as a single population analysis, and the search has_been,/or stratified
which, in general, requires certain methodologi- _sites.Jn_which ajjmited^!test,pit". wül yield a^
cal considerations distinct from the problems as- stylistic sequence.that.may be..used..to^deyelop^
sociated with sampling artifact populations. a regional chronolqgy. This results in "cultures
being isolared on a regional ba~sTs"líñcr"cTeríñed
BASIC SAMPLING UNIVERSES ^argelyln^terrns oí tEe" Stylistic cRaraHeristÍ5§,.p¿
Although we have recognized four major j^rnorjjjitems. The resulting information is in-
types of observational populations, each differ' sufficient for the structural definition of arti-
ing in the way it must be observed and sampled, fact assemblages and site typologies in precise
there are only twobasic sampling universes in terms. Cultural, "t
jxcavation or_fiélcrwor}c, the reglQh~añ'd'the'site. el usi velyir^srylisjric .
"Pópulations of sites must" be'iñvestigatecTwithíñ" 'OrTtHe other hand, there has been inordinate
a universe defined.in spatial terms, the región. interest in certain classes of cultural features,
Populations of cultural Ítems and features must such as burial mounds and platform mounds.
he investigated within a universe defined by the It was carly recognized that such mounds were
bounds of artifactual distribution at a given lo- excellent "mines" for exotic and artistically
cation, the site. Ecofactual populations may be plcasíng objects and were therefore attractive
sampled wirhin both universes, depending on to untraíned investigators and relie hunters.
the types of information desired. If culture types Work in mounds, whether prompted through
are to be defined, it is cssential thnt we isolate a humanistic intcrests or through the "salvage
reliable and representative sample of the popu- motive," has contributed inordinately to our
lation of sites charactcristic of a given culture. "sample" of artifactual data which serves as the
For adequate definition of types of activity loci taxonomic basís of many archaeologically de-
we need a reliable sample of populations of cul- fined cultures. This lack of representative data
tural Ítems and fearurcs assignable to any given plus inadcquate information on the form of the
occupation. In ordcr ;o obtain such inforrna- features is a real and límiting bias in the data
tion, we must have well-planncd research de- currently available for study. Data have been
signs roored in the application of probability gathered in terms of problems which concén-
sampling procedures. trate investigations on populations of cultural
Ítems at the expense of and to the exclusión of
LlMITATIOXS OF CuRRCN'T PROCEDURES cultural features. Investigaron has also been
It is my impression thnt archacologists have concentrated on particular types of obvious fea-
not consciously aimed at sampling populations tures, such as mounds, and there has been very
of sites. They have concentrated on collecting little awareness that the aim of archaeological
"samples" of cultural ítems within regionally > investígation is the definition of the structure of
defined universes. The sites have been treated an archaeological assemblage in addition to its
largely as "mines" for such Ítems. In excep- con ten t. These factors have contributed greatly
tional cases, wherc sites have becn intensivcly to our current. inability to deal systematically
invcstigated and populntions of cultural features with archaeologícal data.
studied, there,. is little attempt to analyíe the Current interests demand that we do not per-
jíopulntion of culturnl Ítems wijrh regard to its petúate these limitations in our methodology.
spatial_strúcture or form, while inordinate at- We must approach our work wíth the methodo-
tention is frequently given to describing the logical ideal of sampling a spatiarunivérsé^ re-
"norms" of recognized formal subclasses within gardless of whether it is cónducteH underTarge-
the population. When cultural features are in- scale regional research programs or over an ex-
vestigated, they are usually reported cartographi- tended period of time through a series of small-
cally, with little attempt to conduct a detailed scale ninvestigations. Such samplingys aimed at
formal analysis aimed at the description of types o!üí? ' Jüo_íLJl£ÜAÍ!Í£».áí3S"représen ta tiye sa mplé""
of features. One rarely finds a report in which of the range of variation TO
in formal-structuraí
correlntions between the spatial structure of pop- jerrns"orsites^vjfTnn £rgiveri~7egion. Selection
ulations of cultural features and Ítems have of sites for excavation shouT3 be m'ade on the
been attempted as a matter of "standard" pro- basis of some method of probability sampling as
cedure. For the most part, nrchaeologists have the best means of insuring that the expenditure
AMERICAN' ANT/QI 'ITV YOL. 2-5, No. 4, 1964

of time and moncy in cxcavntion will yield the thcsc segments werc articulated into a func-
desired information. Sites selected for cxcava- tional cultural system. Wc want to know the
tion must be investigated so that thcy can be demographic basis and how it varíes with respect
formally defined from the standpoint of the to isolated structural changes in the cultural sys-
nature of the populations of cultural Ítems pres- tems. In short, we want to know all wc can
[ ent, but equal attention must also be given to about the structure and functioning of the ex-
the population of cultural features. This Js the tinct cultural systems and how thcy relate one
only waj^ jo_.ap_proacl\jhe necessary taslc of de- to another as regards processes oí chance and
velofjnTgji_site typology in functional and struc- evoliuion.
jural terms) an absolute necessity for the defini- The initial problem is the location of the
lion and isolation of trie archaeologícaTstrüctü'fé various loci of past cultural activity within the
^jj.nct^cul.yral^yste.ins. "The latter is judged región. This phase of the work should be di-
a^necessary,stcp toward tlíeTscientific investiga-' rccted toward tletennining the dcnsity and dis-
¿ion qf cultural processes. tribution of activity loci with respect to classes
of ecofactual phenomena, such as plant com-
A HYPOTHKTICAL RHSEARCH DESIGN munities, physiographic features, and soil types.
In an initial attempt to think through some In order to accomplish this task, there is only one
oí the practical problenis associated with the de- appropriate procedure short of complete cover-
sign and execution of a research projjram \vhich a^e, a procedure rooted in some form of probabil-
attempts to operationalhe some of the sugges- ity sampliny. One suggested approach is to strar-
tions advanced thus far, I will present n "hypo- ify the regional universe on the basis of ecofactu-
thetical" research program. H y p o t h e t i c a l is al criteria judged desirable to control, such as soil
placed in quotes because many of the ideas and types. If we assume for purposes of presentation
problems discussed are the result of work cur- that soil types have been decidcd upon for the
rently being undertnken in tlie southern pnrt of areal stratification, in most cases the bounds of
Illinois, speciñcnlly in the Carlyle Reservoir. Re- the vnrious soils will be defined fairly accurately
gardless oí dio projcctcd i r n p l c m e n t n t i o n of on n soil mnp, and we can simply determine the
many of the ideas set forth, the program remains extent of each in square miles, acres, or other
hypothetical because the suggestions are un- appropriate units. Having accomplished this,
tried and undcmonstratecl. It is hopee! that by we can impose a frame within each sampling
presenting these ideas in the form of a research stratum (áreas of common soil typc). It will be
"model," othcrs may gain a clearer understancl- remembercc! t h a t n universe partitioned by
in» of what is intcndcd by the application of many small sample units is preferable to one
probability sampling approaches in field work. with fewcr but larger units, and that the uníts
It is further hoped that this model can serve as of the frame should be approximatcly equal in
a "whipping boy" for the improvement and fur- si~e. Using these guides, we can impose a grid
thcr development of field methods and the exe- system over the áreas of the various soil types.
cution of well-planned research designs. The actual size of a given unit in the frame
Let us assume that we are given the task of would be determined by considerations of sur-
investigating the prehistoric remains within a vey logistics and the need to have múltiple but
región. Our aim is to determine with the great- also practicable units for investigation. For pur-
est degree of precisión and reliability the iiaturc poses of presentation, it is assumed that the grid
of the extinct cultural systems represented for is composed of squarcs equaling one-half square
the cntire range of human occupation. \X/e must mile. We would then count and enumérate
face the problcm of isolating the variable cul- each unit in the sepárate frames for each sam-
tural Ítems, cultural features, and sites of ac- pling stratum (soil type). The next methodo-
tivity for the cultural systems represented. In logical consideration is arriving at a "sample
addition, we must gather ecofactual data as a size." This can be quite complicated. For pur-
basis for understanding the way in which the poses of argument, it will be dismissed and we
extinct cultural systems participated in the re- will assume that a 20% areal coverage within
gional ecosystems of the past. We want to know each sampling stratum has been judged sufficient.
the internal structure of the systems, the degree The next step is to draw the sample for each
of structural differentiation and functional spe- sampling stratum, and this may be accomplished
cialization of the social segments, as well as how by use of a table of random numbers. The sam-
DlNFOKD ] ARCHAEOLOG/CAL RESEARCH DES1GN •435

plíng units within each frame will then be com- populations of cultural Ítems and features pres-
pletely surveyed for purposes of locating sites. ent. Limited data are obtainable through sam-
What are the advantages of such a proce- pling populations of cultural Ítems present on
dure? If executed under ideal conditions, it will the surface of a site as well as through exercís-
permit the objective evaluation of site density ing spatial control over the "context" of the arti'
in terms of ecofactual controls and also provide factual populations as regards ecofactual data.
data relevant to summary statements about the This information provides the classes of attri-
intensity of past activities in the región as a butes utilized in classifying sites. There are three
whole within definable limits of error. The pro- main attribute classes which can be normally
cedure will also permit the concentratl'on of ef- controlled through the use of surface-sample
forts on intensive study áreas, making the logisti- data: the size and density of the.cluster of cul-
cal expenditure less than if the entire región tural items, the formal constitution of the popu-
were surveyed in a haphazard fashion. In addi- lation of cultural items, and the degree of sty-
tion to these advantages, it elimínales "hidden listic and functional homogeneity of the popu-
bias" in the" form of differential attention paid lation.
to ecological situations which the invcstigator The methods utilized to control the attributes
"feels" were preferred by prehistoric inhahitants. of size and density will also allow us to partition
By following such a plan it is possiblc to dem- the population of cultural items and speak of
ónstrate the ecological prcfercnces of past occu- the relativo densities and of its formal classes,
pants of the región. that is, the spatial structurc of the population.
On the other hand, there are_ certain prob- A further class of data, largely ecofactual, can
lems which arise with any attempt to sample in and must be controlled. This is the topographic
this manner. Of primary importnnce are the and physiographic nature of the location. Such
conditions of the área itself in terms of the type information can be obtaincd at the same time
of cover, prcsence or absence of modern com- that the spatial controls are established for sam-
munities, and distribution of agricultural lancl. pling the population of cultural items.
Such factors could varionsly affect one's access In order to control the relevant variables and
to the land for site locational survey as well as obtain the necessary data, we must have a num-
the relntive efTiciency of observation. These conv ber of sample units tlistributed over the área
plication? are not ncw ñor are they stumbling of the site and its immediate environs. These
blocks to the suggested procedures. They are sample units must be rather evenly distributed
present no mnttcr what type of research design within and beyond the suspccted bounds of the
wc attempt to execute. The advantage of this site. In addition to establishing areal limits of
particular approach is that it próvidos a method- the frame, we n jsr determine the appropriate
olopical frame of reference for documenting and si:e of each sampling unit to insure the recovery
cvaluatinj: such bias. There are many ways to of an adequatc sample. A normal topographic
correct complicatecl sampling conditions. \X ; hen survey of the site will provide a basis for the
approaching the problem of locating sites as out- notation of ecofactual data as well as for the
lined, it becomes imperative that the investi- spatial control- of the sampling frame and the
ga tor concern himself with the control of bias location of sampling units.
resulting from differential s u r v e y c o n d i t i o n s , Somc methocl of "systematic sampling" is sug-
somethiriK not generally considercd under nor-
gested as being the most appropriate to surface
mal haphazard survey procedures.
sampling. Only the first unit is selcctcd at ran-
Assuming t h a t wc have executed a research
tlom and then others are selected in terms of a
plan as outlined, the next step is to ilt-jine 5/>u-
ri«!!}' and sample initially the populations of pre-established interval (Yescelius 1960: 463).
cultural ítems present at each of the identified Systematic sampling ensures an cqual dispersión
loci of cultural nctivity. This is prerequisite to of sample units, a desirable condition when den-
the evaluation of the formal characteristics of sities and assregational analysis are attempted.
the sites themselvcs; the-ultimatc aim is a classi- There is a further advantage in t h a t spatial con-
fication of activity loci as to their degrecs of simi- trol on the placement of sampling units is easier
larity and diffcrence. A working taxonomy of to maintain with an cqual spatial unit between
sites is a necessary prerequisite to the selection them; thus, it is easier to lay out and identify
of sites for cxcavation and investigation of the the selected sampling units in the field.
•136 AMER/CAN ANT/QÜÍTV [ \'oi.. 29, No. 4, 1964

A typical example of the cxccution of such a cerning the nature of variation that is observ-
program is givcn below: ablc in populations of surface-collected cultural
(1) Imposc a frnmc ovcr the arca of the site in the ítems and with techniques of probability sam-
torm of a <:rid systcm composcd of sampling units of <ip- pling. Are sites that exhibit similar si:e, density,
propriatc si;c. and composition of cultural ítem populations
(2) Enumérate the sampling units in the framc from similar with rcspect to populations of cultural
onc to n. Determine the necessary samplc siic and then featurcs, depositional and cultural history, and
determine the appropriate sampling interval. general function within the cultural systems rep-
(3) Consult a table of randam numbcrs and drav the resented? If such a hypothesis were to be con-
initial sample unit. Then draxv cach sample unit sepárate
(rom the initial one by the dcsifinated samplins* interval. firmcd,«we would be in a position to generalíre
(4) Lócate on the site the selected sampling units and far beyond the data deríved from direct excava-
collect all cultural Ítems within the bounds of that unit. tion and could make statements about settle-
ment systems based largely on surface-collected
This procedure can be speeded considerably data. This is not possible whcn sites are not
in open or cultivatecl áreas by use of a "dog- treated within a sampling universe or when sur-
leash" technique. Each person who collects face data are not used in the generation of struc-
ítems has attachcd to his belt a cord of predc- tural hypotheses.
termined length to which is attached a stake. How do we nctually go about the selection of
The stake is placed in the ground at the appro- sites for excavation? The following procedure is
priate location, and the person collects all the suggcstcd:
cultural ítems within the radius of the circle de-
(1) Devclop a taxonomy of sites based on formal at-
ñned by the "dog leash." The location of sam- irihutcs invcsti<:ated durinu the surface survcy.
pling units can be detcrmined quickly by means (-) Determine the relativo frcquendes and distrihu-
of a tape and compass or with a transit. Such a tions of site types according lo the original sampliní.;
method is considerably faster than setting up a strata, for cxamplc, soil types.
grid and collecting Ítems from a square unit, all (3) Stratify the population of sites into sampliny
four corners of which must be defined. strata based on the typology further stratified in terms
Rcgardless of the particular procedure fol- of the original areal strata, ihat is, soil types.
lowed, applícation of the principies of probn- ablc(-í)what Dcícrrr.inc in tcrms of the time nnd funds avail-
proportion of the total numbcr of cach site type
bility sampling to the collection of cultural Ítems can be e.xcavatcd to yield rcliablc information on their
from the surface makes possible the objcctivc intcrnal composition.
definition of the site in terms of density clines. (5) Enumérate cach site in cach samplins stratum
This permits objective comparison of sites in from onc to n.
ternis of site si:e and ítem density, in addition (6) Consult a tablc of rnndom numbers and draw the
to the form, homogeneity, and structure of the nppropriate sampling units dcsignated by the random
numbers.
population of cultural Ítems present. On the
(7) Proceed to excávate all those sites whosc unit-
basis of such comparisons, we can arrive at a dcsignator numbcr was drawn from the table of random
provisional typology of the range of variability numbers.
in the population of sites within the regional The use of such a procedure can be justified
universe. Workiñg hypotheses can be generated in a number of ways. First, it will be rcmem-
to account for the observable dífferences and bered that the initial taxonomy based on sur-
similarities in form, density, and spatial struc- face-collected materials grouped sites judged to
ture, and these hypotheses can be tested by ex- be similar or different. Within each taxonomic
cavation. class, sites are excavated to test the reliability of
A comparative study of information collected this judgment and to further explícate the nature
through the applícation of sampling techniques of the variability through more detailed investi-
provides a basic set of data for the construction gation of populations of cultural ítems and fea-
of a stratified sampling frame of provisional site tures. Only by the use of such a procedure can
types within which selection of sites for excava- we explícate the meaning of observed differences
tion can be made. This brings us to one of the in the surface-collected material and thereby
major questions considered: how do we know provide the necessary information for confirm-
where to dig? I think that the answer to this ing the validity of gcneralizations based on such
question logically tests-with a methodology data. Secondly, the procedure insures an ade-
which attempts to test working hypotheses con- quate and representative sample of the popula-
ARCHAEOLOGÍCAL RESEARCH DES1GN ,„
BlNFORD ] ^J l

tion of cultural activity loci within the defined generally inadequate as a sampling frame for
universe. It is a complete and unbiased across- cultural features. Ideally, we should have an
the-board investigation of the full range of for- X-ray machine which would allow us to lócate
mal variability within the population. and formally evalúate the range of variation
The next phase of research planning is to manifest in cultural features. Given such infor-
many the most importanr, and it is the phase mation, we could construct a frame and excá-
that has received most attention under the ru- vate features within each recognized formal class
bric of "field methods." Initially, it must be rec- in proportion to their relative frequency. Such
ognized that in excavation w^are not sampling a*procedure would be analogous to excavating
activity loci; vve are sampling popuiations of sites selected on the basis of a previously de-
cultural ítems, cultural features, and ecofacts fined frame of site types. Unfortunately, no such
at an activity locus that may or may not have a X-ray machine exists, and we must attempt to
complex cultural and depositional history. We obtain the desired sample by opening up áreas
want data which will allow us to understand of the site in such a way as to (1) allow the
the histórica! aspects of the various occupations, recognition of the presencc of cultural features,
as well as the functions of the occupations in the (2) provide a representative spatial coverage of
total cultural system represented. the universe in order to define the spatial distri-
If we view excavation as having a particular b u t i o n and s t r u c t u r e of the features, and
role in the schcmc of data collectíon, it is reason- (3) provide the necessary contextúa! data for
able to think in terms of an excavational strate- the forma! analysis of the recognized features.
gy. First, it must be kept in mind thnt all exca- This discourse is not intended as a discussion
vation is exploratory in addition to being a meth- of excavational techniques. Howcver, a limited
od for securing samples. Some phases of exca- discussion of some widely utilizecl approaches as
vation may be parnmetric in the sense of it be- thcy relate to the general problems of research
ing possible to enumérate a sampling frame prior strategy seem to be in order.
to data collection, while other phases are e.x- Ideally, once a site is selected as a unit in a
ploríitory an:"! snmpling must be on!y provision- sampling frame oí sites, it should be completely
ally paramctric. Spatial control on a horironral cxcavated. In such a case, títere will be no ques-
axis makes possible the parametric definición of tion abotit one's ability to give parametric defmi-
a sampling f r a m e in terms of spatial units. This tion to a sampling frame for cultural ítems com-
type of frame is ideal for investigation of the mensurate with the cfficient investigarion of cul-
homogeneity or heterogeneity of the popula- tural features. Complete excavation will insure
tion of c u l t u r a l Ítems, and it is appropriate for complete recovery of the entirc record of past
e: ploratory v/ork that secks the solution of prob- activities at the given location.
lems of depositional and cultural history. How- ln most cases it is impossible to undertake
ever, it is with excavation that we hope to ac- complete excavation of a site; only rarely are
complish the máximum correlational control funds and pcrsonncl available for such an un-
and thereby obtain the data that will allow re- dertaking, particularly when sites are largc. One
liablc interpretaron of the interna! variation in merhocl frequently resorted to when faced with
the spatial structurc of functional and stylistic a largc site, or when the invcstigator is interested
classes of cultural itcms. Excavation will further in obtaining information concerning the consti-
provide well-documentcd and correlated sam- tution of the population of cultural features, is
ples of ecofacts, the basic data relevant to the to opcn up large "block" áreas such as was done
naturc of the local environment, and the way in a t K i n c a i d (Colé 1951). A relatively large num-
which the represented social units were adapted ber of contiguous excavation units were opened,
to it. It is by correlating the distributions of cul- and this resulted in the complete excavation of
tural itcms with cliffercnt functional classes of a largo "block" of the site área. This method in-
cultural features that insight into the "causes" sures recovery of the formal range of cultural
of differential d i s t r i b u t i o n s is o b t a i n e d , and features present in any given block but, as nor-
henee understanding of the range, location, and mally implcmented, does not insure that the ex-
naturc of the various activities conducted at the cavatcd block is representative of the range of
site. Sampling frames designcd solely to ob- features and activity loci present at the site. As
tain cultural Ítems and provide information con- normally practiced, the block or blocks selected
ceming depositional and cultural history are for cxcavation are in the "core" área of the site
43S AMERÍCAN' AN'TIQUITV [ Voi.. :9. No. 4, 19<?4

and thcrefore bias the sample toward fea tures tain spcciftc questions with the most economical
and activity áreas that wcre centrally located. ancl cxpcdient means.
As previously noted, our aim should be for ade- As an example, initial discussion will center
quate, reliable, and representative data. Block around a relatively small, single-componcnt site
excavations as normally utili:ed do not supply that lacks primary archaeological context below
this type of Siformation. the plow roñe (except, of course, c u l t u r a l fea-
Test pits and test trenches are appropriate tures). Initially, we want to know whether or
units of excavation whcn one is investigating cer- not there are clusters of differential density in
tain limited, formal properries of the site', but cultural items, a clue to the possible location of
they are inappropriate to investigation of the site cultural features. In addition, we want a com-
as a whole. Test pits are by defmition small, non- plete and unbiased sample of the population of
contiguous units. Such units are useful in pre- c u l t u r a l items in order to makc judgments as to
liminary investigations of depositional problems the "meaning" of demonstrable differential dis-
and as a means of solving site Cultural history tributions of recognized stylistic and functional
problems. They can also be profitably employed classes. Such a sample could be obtained by the
in the collection of a dispersed number of sam- excavation of a series of "test pits," the size and
ples of cultural Ítems, but they do not normally density of which would be determined by the
expose áreas large enough to define and sample estimated density of cultural items present. The
populations of cultural features. distribution of the pits would be deterrrL.ied by
Test trenches are excellent means of investí- some technique of probability sampling normal-
fjating and defming problems of cultural and ly executed within a grid frame. The plow ¿one
depositional history, but they have most of the would be excavated and sifted for each of the
limitations of test pits when sampling cultural selected excavation or sample units. This meth-
features. However, they frequently provide odology could he further implemented by com-
more information on the differentiaj distribu- bining controllecl surface collection from selected
tion of feature types if they happen to be opened sample units. The data collected in this way
in sufficient density to "cross cut" major arens should yield the desired information concerning
of the site. Data gathered from test trenches population form, structure, and contení. Once
also have the advantage of being p a r t i c u l a r l y this is accomplished rhe next phase of excava-
useful for analysis of itcm densities on a linear tion should be planned to yield the sufficient
axis. The limitations of test trenches are those controlled data on the population of cultural
of any tcchnique which does not open up a large features present. In this particular case, where
comiguous área, and does not cover, in a repre- there is no primary archaeological context be-
sentative manner, the entire site. low the plow roñe, \ve can most efficiently ac-
As test pits and trenches are normally utili:ed, complish our task by complete removal of the
they do not provide aclequate data regarding the plow roñe with the aid of power equipment.
The result would be the exposure of cultural
population of c u l t u r a l 'Ítems because they are
features which could be mapped and excavated,
not normally distributcd at random in sufficient
utilizing techniques designed to yield máximum
numbers over the site. A greater limitation is the
correlational control.
failure to expose large contiguous áreas, a neces- The suggested excavation program would
sary condition for adequate sampling of cultural amount to a two-phase sequence. The first
features. phase is designed to yield information about
Phase excavations seems to be the most appro- the population of cultural items present, where-
priate term. to apply to the procedures which as the second phase would yield the desired in-
will be suggested as a means of overcoming some formation concerning the population of cultural
of the diffkulties inherent in sampling the differ- features.
ent types of observational populations at a site. In many field situations the sites are more
The term implies that the excavation of a site complex, having múltiple occupations with pri-
may involve several different excavational steps, mary archaeological deposits below the dis-
each largely dependent upon the results of the turbed plow zone. In such a case, a three-phase
earlier "phase" for the details necessary to the excavation program may be more appropriate.
proper planning and execurion of the succeed- The initial phase would consist of opening up a
ing phase. Each phase is designed to answer cer- series of test pits selected for excavation on the
DlN'FORD ] AKCHAEOLOG/CAL RESEARCH DESIGN

basis of a random or systematic sampling pattern culture historical aspects, more and more atten-
within a grid frame. This procedure, as in the tion must be given to maintaining máximum
earlier case, should provide the data necessary correlational control. The intensity of sampling
for the reliable definition and isolation of differ- or the sample sire needed to ensure adequate
ent stylistic and functional áreas within the total data increases wirh the heterogeneity of the uni-
site área. Next is the problem of sampling popu- verse under investigation. This means that data
lations of cultural features. Since the site has necessary for justifying the step from one phase
several components, tight correlational control to another become expanded, and in general the
must be exercised to ensure the possibility of nature of the appropriate phases changes with
correlating feature forms with forms of cultural the complexity and form of the universe. The
Ítems representative of discrete occupational epí- more complex the site, the more complex the
sodes. An appropriate procedure is to employ excavational procedures, and the larger must be
block excavations as the second phase. Since the the recovered samples for any given phase of
multicomponent nature of the site presumably excavation.
would have been recognized during the early This recognition provides the justification for
stages of the test-pitting phase, such a procedure what I cali the planning of an excavational se-
also ensures that the initial exploratory expo- quence. In áreas where a number of sites have
sures will yield information obtained under con- been selected for excavation, the temporal se-
ditions of máximum correlational control. This quence of excavation can be very important in
hopefully makes possible the correlafion of fea- promoting the efficicnt use of resources in both
ture types with oíd soil surfaces, which in turn labor and funds. The initial sites excavated
can be isolated and investigated in terms of should be the least complex, so that the chances
cultural-item contont. With this type of infor- of making false correlations are dirninished and
mation we should, assuming that the block ex- the máximum conditions obtain for observing
posures have becn succcssful, be able to develop the formal spatial structure of features and cul-
n formal taxonomy of features which can be tural Ítems. Once an understanding is gained
correlnted wirh the variable populations of cul- of the formal and structural characteristics
tural Ítems representativo of the sepárate occu- which may be encountered, one is in a much
pations. Once such corrclations are establishcd, better position to investígate a complex site
the third phase of excavation can begin, the where the nature of the variability may not be
"stripping phase." This is rcmoval, by means so clearly depicted. Informed excavation of a
of power equipment or by hand, without at- complex site can often greatly expedite its cfli-
tempting to recoven cultural Ítems, of the com- cicnt investigation.
plete c u l t u r a l deposit down to the level where It is hopee) that by following this "hypotheti-
c u l t u r a l features can be observed intruding into cal" research program, the reader has gained a
the natural. Once this is nccomplished, these clearer understanding of what is intended by
features can be jnappcd and excavated, using the argumcnt that methods of probability sam-
techniques that will ensure máximum correla- pling are applicable on all levéis of field investi-
tional control. The clistributional data thus ob- gation. By poínting out some of the complica-
tained will supplemcm that already coliected tions, I trust an apprcciation can be gained as to
and mnkc possible the definition of activity áreas the potential which rhe application of proba-
and the general infernal community structure bility sampling methods holds for improvingour
representative of the sepárate occupations. clata-collection methods. Such methods further
If we have been careful in planning and suc- provide a basis for a grcatly expanded analysis
cessful in the execution of the three phascs of of nrchaeological data directed toward the defi-
excavation, we should have the data necessary nition of archaeological assemblages in struc-
for the dcmoiistration of clifferences and simi- tural terms, ultimately with a view toward the
larities between occupations in terms of the for- isolation and definition of cxtinct cultural sys-
mal, spntial, and structural composition of the tems.
sepárate populations defined by both c u l t u r a l Of equnl importance is the recognition that
Ítems and features. field work must not be conducted scparately
Enough has been saicl to suggest what is in- from analysis. Running analysis is a necessary
tended by phase excavations. As the complex- p;irt of feature description, and of even greater
ity of a site is compounded in depositional and importance is the recognition that the results of
AMER/CAN AM/QUJTV VOL. 29, No. 4,1964

running analysis largely serve as the bnsis for the cerning the internal structure and ecological
planning and decision-making regarding succes- setting of successivc cultural systems. It is ob-
sive methodological stcps taken in the exccution served that undcr current programs of salvage
of a field program. Much ink has been spilt on archaeology and greater f o u n d a t i o n support
the argument that the archaeologist as sucli is for archaeological research, archaeologists are
a technician (Taylor 194S: 43). Only in a very actually being given the opportunity to study
restgicted sense can such a position be defended such regions. It is argued that, in spite of such
because the field archaeologist is forcver making opportunitics, our current practices largely ob-
decisions as to what are pertinent and relcvant viate-the recovery of data necessary to the study
"facts." Such decisions can only be made with of cultural process. The development of tech- i
knowledge and understanding of the questions niques for the recovery of data in structural
being asked of the data. The field archaeolo- terms is believed to be crucial, for it is the struc-
gist must also be an anthropologist to make such
decisions efficiently and effectively. As Brew
(1946: 65) has argued that there is no single or
ture of archaeological remains that informs
about the cultural system, and it is the cultural
system which is the seat of process.
I
even adequate taxonomy sufficient for "bringing Probability sampling is suggested as a major
í». out all the evidence," so I also argüe that therc methodological improvement which, if executed
is no sufficient set of field tcchniques. Field work on all levéis of data collection in full recognition
must be conducted in terms of a running analy- of the .nherent differences in the nature of ob-
sis and against a backdrop of the \videst possible servational populations which archaeologists in-
set of questions to which the data are potentially vestígate, can result in the production of ade-
relevant. This is no technician's Job. This is the quate and representative data useful in the study
job of an anthropologist specialircd in the collec- of cultural process.
tion and analysis of data concermng e.xtinct cul- Observational populations of cultural Ítems,
tural systems. Only after the myth of simplicity features, and activity loci are recognized as hav-
which surrounds the training of field archaeolo- ing certain characteristics which demand differ-
gists is dispelled, and after more attention is ent treatmcnt in both field obscrvation and sam-
given to recovering information concerning the pling methodology. On the other hand, only
operation of extinct cultural systems as opposed two major sampling universes, regions and sites,
to the recovery of things, will archaeologists are recognized as appropriate to field investiga-
make significant advances in studies of cultural tions. Many of the limitations of currently
process. availablc data are believed to derive from the
failure to sample populations of activity loci
SUMMARY AND CoNCLL'SIOXS within a regional universe. Emphasis has been
\ It has been argued that as archaeologists we on sampling populations of cultural ítems within
are faced with the methodological task of iso- a regional rathcr than a site universe. This pro-
lating extinct socio-cultural systems as the most cedure has made impossible the structural defi-
appropriate unit for the study of the evolution- nition of populations of cultural Ítems or the
ary )orocesses which result in cultural similarities study of activity loci from a structural point of
and differences. If we view culture as man's view. Consequently, our current understanding
extrasomatic means of adapta tion, we must iso- of the prehistoric past is largely in terms of style
late and define the ecological setting of any given distributions and cultures defined in terms of
socio-cultural system, not only \vith respect to discrete traits and stylistic characteristics; this is
the points of articulation with the physical and certainly not a situatíon conducíve to studies of
biological environment, but also \vid~i points of cultural process.
articulation with the socio-culrural environ- The argument for planned and well-paced
ment. It is suggested that changesin the ecologi- execution of research design has been presented
cal setting of any given system are the prime in the form of a "hypothetical" research pro-
causative situations activating processes of cul- gram, along with a limited discussion of the tech-
tural change. niques and levéis of applicability of probability
It is argued that the methodology most ap- sampling procedures. Problems attendant upon
propriate to the study of cultural process is a the recovery of structural information within
regional approach in which we srtempt to gain both the regional and site universe have been
•jreliable.-. and representative information con- made explicit in a number of examples of types
.-.t-harae
BlNFORO ] ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH DES1ON 441

of sampling problem and excavational situation. ~DEMING, WILLIAM EDWARDS


It ÍS concluded that the design and execution of 1950 Soma Thcory o¡ Snm/>lm £ . John Wiley and
SoI1S| Inc New York
a research program is the Job of an anthropolo- - '
pist, and only in a limited way can the ficld ar- DUNCAX, O. T., RAY P. CIV./ORT, AM> HEVKRI.Y DUNCAN
chaeologist be considered a "technician." Field 1961 Suamical GcoSrat-hy. The Frec Press of Glen-
C11C
work is an on-going process demanding mcthod- ' Glencoe.
ologícal decisions bascd on a running analysis of GKARING, I-"RI;I>
the data recovcred from prior field work. It is ^ IVÍCMS an ., Warriors . Mt.moir5 „/ thc Amcri.
concluded that if we are to be succcssful in thc cim Am/iro;>olo£¡ai¡ Associiition, No. 93. Mc-
collection of data relevant to studies of c u l t u r a l n:isha.
process, field work must be conducted within , WILLIAM G.
the framework of a well-planncd research de- 1959 T ne Status of Evolmionary Thcory in Ameri-
sign which provides for thc application of proba- i'an History. In íiYoliitiim and Antl\rof>olnx\:
A CcMcn
1
bility sampling techniques at all levéis of investi- TL ^;^"isn !- «"«d by Hctty J. Mep-
i;crs, pp. Q 90-103. TheAAnthropolosical Socicty of
° catión. The fielcl strategy cxccutcd within the Washiii^ton, Washington.
framework of the research design must be di-
Mll D!!l:u
rectcd by a well-trained anthropologist capable -
of making interpretations and decisions in terms " '
of the widest possib'c factual ancl theoretical
1
knowlcdge of general anthropology, ancl the i;, Ai.ni.m C.
types of questions must be drawn up which bis I he nnncii.--ii.ins of Aivhje.'Ki^y. In í:Siii\s ¡n
f/u" .SVii'r.fi.' '>/ ( ^ ü í f i n t 1 : ín Honor oj Lt:<lic A.
tinta mny be useful in solving. It is bclieved t h a t \\"/:ilc, ccliicil hy ÍJertniJc !:. I.Xilc nnJ Rol'crt
moJification oí currcnt prácticos along tliese I. Cainciri', pi\ -1 >7-5d. Tilomas Y. C'rowcll
lines is n necessary prercquisilc ior movinu ar- C 'ornpiuiy, NVu' ^ « ,'k.
chaeology on to the level of dcvelopment which ,s n .\\-M ( l , jrn\s II
Willey and Phillips (1958: 4-5) have callcd the 19('0 l i v o l i i i i o n n r y l'rinciples an.i Social Typcs. In
"expíanatory level." T/ic' ¡;t<iluiíon o/ Míin: \liiu¡. C^ilínu' iuu¡ So-
i'ii-iv, cJiteil hy Sol T:ix, pp. l(<9-Sí\ The l'ni-
!v
,MS, Roiu.nr M. ' ' " "' '''
l'^oO The 1U v o h i i i o n a r y Process in lia.-ly Civili::i;ion.s. TAYLOR, W A I . I L R NX'.
I i i T/it i f í í i i r i t m (ij Xían: \iinti, (Jiiínnc'. íirui 194S A SuiJy of Archaeoloi;v. \\cmoirs <.f t/io
N.K-I'I-[\. ineil l'y Sol Tnx, pp. 155-dS. The l ' n i - Aiiu-nVun Ani/ir.»;>.<li)i;iV(!l Associciiion, No. 69.
\'crí-ity o C^hio;i;,-v> i'Vess, Chic:!i;v>. Mennsha.
A K K I N . I I . % N I > I\AVMHSM> {..'OI.TOS
1057 í. línrncs :ui<! N'oMc_ Inc.,
\ew York. 19(V0 Archatoloticiil Sampliiic: A í'roblcm of Slaiis-
ucal I n l c r c n c c . ln iissayf in thc Ncifiur i>¡ C^ul-
BIM'OKP, l.i \\ is R. nnc. ln Honor u\ ¡.alie A. \\"/uu', cdited by Ger-
I lí d2 Arc.h:ieolo¡:y as Anthropoloev. AnuTiVíin An- trtidc H. Dole a n d Robert L. Carneiro, pp. 457-
l ú / i c / t v , \"ol. '2S, No. 2, pp. 217-25. Snlt I-akc 70. Thomas Y. Crowcll Compnny, New York.
C:ny.
WACÍSI-.R, P I I I L I I -
;
lÍKMimiKm. Roiii'Ri'J. lq(;C T/u- Hu.nmi Use- ,;/ r/U' í;,,u¡,. The ! rec Press
1959 Archneoloyy aiul ihc r.volutionnry Thcory. In of Glencoc, GIcncoc.
>f ;i7-iiis<i!, cdiieJ hy Bctty J. Meg'^er?, pp. 76-S9. -Wimr., I.I.SI.SK A.
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>f NVns:1 lí;Ion
" - . Companv, New York.
HuhU, JollN Olls
•d 1946 Archaeolo^y of A l k a l i RiJce, Soinheastern
\X l l . l . l - . Y , (JOIU)OS' [\. ASI! I l l l l . l l ' l ' l l l l . l . l P j
195S .Vfi-í/K.uí dntí Tíu'orv in Amejictin Archticolugy.
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h- r, i-'.SY-Cnoi'i.K
U s ' i N i K s n v oí- CMII:AWI
ty ll¡51 K'iiu-.u,!. A í'r.'liist.niu Illi.u.is Mi-ü Cliicafio, Illinois
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in
:n
es