Also known as shovel tests
test units are a form of basic archaeological
sub-surface testing designed to provide a quick method for sampling
over a large area. These are excavated
by a shovel bum
during Phase I
, or identification
phase, of a cultural resource management
The typical shovel test:
During a project, shovel tests can be spaced as close together as 5 meters and as far apart as 45 meters, perhaps more. This all depends upon the probability of finding an archaeological site and the environmental conditions. The main purpose of shovel testing is to locate cultural materials. Larger excavations, conducted later, reveal greater information.
Generally, shovel testing is hard grueling work, hated by the average shovel bum except for the advantage of being stuck in one place so the mosquitoes can find you, as can happen with excavation. Repeated shovel testing is considered the archaeological equivalent of chain-gang labor.