Archaeological services are often provided by various companies that can direct excavation projects, or offer consultation when artifacts of human history are found. Assistance may be required on a known archaeological project, or when ancient buildings or objects are found during construction. Sometimes offered on a regional level, such services can include the manpower to dig up artifacts or provide surveys from the ground or the air. Archaeologists can also serve to provide guidance to other businesses, through knowledge of various cultures.
Materials can be analyzed with laboratory equipment on site, or an archaeologist can take samples back to a research facility. Sophisticated equipment is often used to date artifacts, study historical records, and compare data from other experts in the field. These archaeological services are generally performed with care because any artifacts can contain sensitive details on past cultures, and are often delicate. The removal process, therefore, is usually a form of archaeology based service in itself.
Surveys can be conducted on known sites with an archaeological record, places where artifacts are suspected to be or, or where sites are unexpectedly uncovered. These archaeological services can survey the surrounding geography, as well as consist of plotting and interpretation through aerial photography. In addition to mapping activities, the various services provided by archaeologists sometimes involve the use of metal detectors, while project managers are often needed to coordinate significant activities on large sites.
When construction projects take place near an ancient site, then the effects of development activities can be assessed in relation to their impact. Archaeological services can help construction agencies protect artifacts and buildings, as well as monitor them for any negative changes that occur during the work. The local geology can be analyzed for changes that take place during the construction process as well. If a site cannot be preserved, then archaeologists usually study the area and generate data; sometimes a case to get regional agencies to formally protect the site can be made.
Providers of archaeological services are often large companies that depend on being awarded contracts for a particular time period. These contracts can lay out the details of the archaeological study and the tasks that need to be performed during the project. Instructions as to how certain activities will be carried out, such as mapping with a Global Positioning System (GPS), are typically explained in writing. The performance of the service provider is usually monitored throughout the length of the contract period, so that the archaeological services can be completed professionally and within budget.