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Palomar College Learning For Success

Jim Eighmey

Palomar Anthropology

Archaeological Surveying

County overview map showing project location

Location map of a previous survey

Students in the basic surveying class (Anth 120) learn basic land navigation techniques, map reading, artifact identification, local archaeological chronologies, and site recording methods.  The class consists of classroom work in these areas with a combination of lectures and practicum exercises which equips students with the necessary skills to undertake archaeological surveys.  Visits to the local site records repository is accompanied by instruction in filling out state archaeological record forms.

The central focus of the class is two weekends of field survey work for the California state parks.  Students camp at the project site and spend four field days locating and recording archaeological sites.  These resources are photographed, mapped, and described.  The location of the surveys varies but is within San Diego County.  The area surveyed is dependent on the needs of the California State Park system.  Participation in the field survey is mandatory.

Students lined up across a field during a survey.

Students conducting a survey transect

Following the survey the class will be focused on completing site forms, maps, and descriptions for submission to the State of California Historic Preservation Office and completion of their portions of the final survey report.  Grades in the class are determined by a combination of participation, class exercises, and completion of site records.

The Advanced Archaeological Survey class (Anth 220) is taught in conjunction with the basic survey but extends the student’s skill sets through instruction on the use of Optical and GPS survey instruments and Geographic Information Systems.  The Advanced survey class helps the beginning class and supplements the survey with accurate maps and location data.  Combined with the introductory class the survey aims to collect enough information to complete a report suitable for submission to the state agencies.

Students participating in the class are required to purchase equipment such as a personal compass, will need to have access to overnight camping gear, and will need to arrange personal transportation to and from the survey area.

The archaeological survey classes are part of Palomar’s Archaeological certificate program and provide invaluable practical skills for anyone interested in employment in Archaeological or Environmental fields.  The classes are also recommended for anyone interested in basic outdoor navigation skills or curious about our local history.   There are no prerequisites aside from a willingness to learn and to go into the San Diego back country.

a desert valley full of boulders with a large outcrop forming a rock shelter

Rock shelter in Anza Borrego State Park

a misty valley in Rancho Cuyamaca Park

A portion of a survey area in Rancho Cuyamaca State Park

The survey classes alternate spring semesters with the Archaeological Laboratory Methods class and are held at the San Marcos Campus.

Please check the current class schedule for availability.





Last modified on August 12, 2018