If we were the first people to come across this site, we would first survey the area and create a map of it. The map would include information such as the latitude, longitude, and elevation of the location as well as the horizontal and vertical measurements. Then we would carefully dig a test pit and trench to provide us with a sample of the sites stratigraphy, which we can learn about the natural sediment as well as human remains and artifacts if any. We would use the law of superposition which simply states that the lower strata are older than the ones above it. We would then analyze the layer of sediments and look for any disturbances that would change the stratigraphy such as erosion, structure foundation, animals etc. We would then record and carefully remove the artifact to sketch or describe it. It can be assumed that if artifacts are found at the same layer were “buried” at the same time. We would take different samples of soil, pollen, and possible bone for analysis to tell
us more about the area.
James Kirkman, the first excavator of the Gedi Ruins, came across many artifacts while excavating Gedi such as earthenware, imported ceramics and porcelains, beads and so on that were found within the houses. Kirkman almost always listed the precise location of the finds along with a classification of artifacts (Wilson 4). Kirkman also illustrated numerous artifacts, plans, and section drawings of excavated areas as well as an architectural record to provide the relationship of artifacts to specific sites (Wilson 4). Kirkman used comparative dating to compare artifacts between other sites he was working on (Ungwana, Malindi, and Kilepwa) and to develop chronology. Kirkman combined excavation with architectural studies to determine structural relationships and to date building sequences (Wilson 4).
A project lead by Claire Hardy-Gilbert identified a new great mosque in 1999. Using carbon dating, a grave maker was dated between 1041 and 1278. This indicated horizontal stratigraphy from the old city to the newer one that is enclosed (the one in the site map). The mosques symbolize the urban shift at the start of the 15th century (“Swahili History & Archaeology”). In 2001, the project completed a topographical survey of the city that revealed additional mosques that confirmed the dating of the first one.