Traversing the Past

The total station theodolite in archaeological landscape survey

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This publication is one of a series on archaeological field survey techniques published by Historic England. It covers the electronic total station theodolite (TST) and its use in landscape archaeology.

General guidance on the TST and its role in recording archaeological excavations and in surveying historic buildings is available elsewhere (Bettess 1998; Menuge 2006; Andrews et al 2009; 2010). In this paper these topics are only covered in principle.


  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Setting up a TST
  • Case Study 1: West Kennet Long Barrow, Wiltshire
  • Control
  • Case Study 2: Wandlebury, Cambridgeshire
  • Case Study 3: Stonehenge, Wiltshire
  • Accuracy and precision
  • Divorced and map-based survey
  • Case Study 4: Little Doward, Herefordshire
  • Practical applications
  • Data collection and software
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Glossary
  • References
  • Acknowledgements

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 58
  • Product Code: HEAG062


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