5.1. Introduction

This chapter reviews methods and equipment used in the course of the Upper Colca Archaeological Research Project, and it describes the creation of indices and measures that are used in analyses in subsequent chapters. Research at the Chivay obsidian quarry presented two principal challenges. First, the obsidian source itself is situated in a rugged, high altitude landscape that required working out of backpacker campsites and involved careful decisions regarding time budgeting during survey and excavation at the source. Second, raw material source areas present a challenge in the sheer volume of archaeological materials that are typically found in these areas. Sources require a modification of the established "site-oriented" survey paradigm for mapping and sampling during fieldwork, and for analysis during lab work. Anadditional goal of this project was to implement mobile GIS to record archaeological distributions in a digital format that integrates easily with a GIS database, and at a finer scale of resolution than is possible using traditional archaeological survey methods.

This chapter will review the research methods used both in the field during survey and excavation work, and in the subsequent lab analysis. Research design required an explicit selection of survey methods and these will be discussed below. Laboratory analysis of artifact collections was broad such that, for example, simple flakes were analyzed with nearly the detail of projectile points. This expansive analysis strategy required explicit sampling methods so that detailed analysis took place on representative samples from across geographical space and across artifact types, as sampling reduced the total count of artifacts requiring detailed analysis. Collections from survey and excavation were analyzed in two stages, (1) basic sorting and weighing of all collections, and (2) detailed analysis of selected artifacts from the larger population. The integration of field and laboratory digital data permitted the production of detailed summaries promptly for a Peruvian government report, and it allowed for the integration of GIS spatial analysis tools with the detailed data of lab analyses.