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How do you keep track of everything you find? An archaeologist records information on artifacts found together in a provenience.
An archaeologist records information on artifacts found together in a provenience.
   
Chuck Said
Before we begin excavating, we create a grid with string to divide the site into small units. Each unit is called a provenience. As we excavate, we collect all the objects for each provenience in bags. All the things that are the same are bagged together. For example, pottery might go in one bag, shell in another bag, and bone in a third bag.

We write a card for each provenience, and each gets its own catalog number. We record a lot of detailed information for each provenience, like its size, exact location, and how many bags of artifacts we recovered in it. Then we take everything back to the lab, where we can study it more carefully and compare it to other things we found at the site.