Science: How to Dig Up the Past

People who are careless with shovels recently got told off. The teller-off was 72-year-old Clark Wissler, curator emeritus of anthropology at Manhattan's American Museum of Natural History. He was worried by the thought of how much is lost to science by amateur archeologists ignorantly gouging away after arrowheads or other subterranean souvenirs. He wrote an article about proper procedure for the March Natural History.

The proper archeologist is equipped for the most delicate digging and examinations with a small trowel, whisk broom, toothbrush, bellows and old fork—handy for cleaning out skulls. First the site is measured and mapped. Then the sod...

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