This paper provides a primer that unlocks data in surveyors’ field notes. Surveyors’ field books contain copious data about cultural and natural features, but the techniques surveyors used to record information makes the data difficult to understand and therefore surveyors’ field books are underused. This paper examines the different styles surveyors used in data collection, and it shows through case studies how it can be deciphered. It also illustrates how data in field books overcomes common map interpretation problems such as scale constraints, determining the precise dimensions of features and silent updating.


archaeology, surveyors' field books, data, interpretation

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