Vacuum truck excavation as a new and effective technique in urban archaeology; an in-depth assessment and comparison against traditional methodology

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
Archaeological investigations were undertaken at multiple locations throughout Indianapolis as part of a large, high-profile cultural resource management project. One section of this project focused on the remains of an early twentieth-century neighborhood, currently an urban park. As part of the archaeological investigations conducted within the park, archaeologists experimented with the use of a vacuum truck, which uses compressed air to excavate sediments. Excavation with the vacuum truck was found to be faster and less expensive when compared to traditional hand excavation methods. Artifact recovery was consistent with traditional methods, though resulted in slightly less artifact damage. The vacuum truck was able to excavate deeper within a smaller surface area than possible with hand methods, allowing archaeologists to see beneath dense deposits of urban fill. It is recommended that this excavation method be utilized in urban archaeological settings.
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Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Driver, Jonathan
Member of collection
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