Graphical and Plane Table Survey of Archaeological Earthworks

Good Practice Guidance

This guidance is for anyone interested in deploying ‘traditional’ non-electronic methods of survey to record and interpret the archaeology of an earthwork site.

The use of simple methods of measurement described in this guidance using tapes, a plane table or an optical square will help both experienced landscape archaeologists and novice practitioners to develop their observational and analytical skills. The guidance covers the range of techniques that can be deployed while embedded links to specially commissioned video clips reinforce understanding by showing many of the techniques being used in the field.

View the videos

The guidance also considers the integration of manual survey techniques with a Total Station Theodolite (TST) or a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).


  • Introduction
  • The value of these techniques
  • Reconnaissance and control
  • Graphical survey in the field
  • Plane table survey
  • The pros and cons
  • Ancillary techniques
  • Products
  • Conclusion
  • Glossary
  • Where to get advice

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 36
  • Product Code: HEAG256


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