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The culmination of all this was the detailed work made by Robinson and Van de Velde, among others. Robinson, in particular, crisscrossed the country in 18 and his work ultimately led to the development of the systematic study of place names (topynoms) which was crucial for the identification of places mentioned in the Bible.
However, the first systematic overall mapping of the country, with a regional investigation of monuments and sites possessing visible architectural remains from different periods, began with the work of the Palestine Exploration Fund and undoubtedly one of its greatest achievements was the "Survey of Western Palestine" of the early 1870s.
Archaeologists dealing with the historic periods, however, are able to rely on a greater variety of artifacts and architectural remains, on the one hand, and on the discovery of written materials (notably inscriptions on durable materials, such as stone or clay tablets, and on ceramic ostraka, and to a lesser extent on organic materials, such as scrolls and papyri made of leather skins and parchment) on the other.
The study of ancient writing is known as epigraphy, while the study of the development of individual written letter forms is known as paleography (see Alphabet ).
These rods are used as the baseline for setting out a grid of 5 × 5 meter squares across the area chosen for excavation.
The procedure of excavations requires a systematic removal of accumulated earth and debris covering ancient architectural remains, whether belonging to the site of a tell (i.e., a superficial mound created by the accumulation of superimposed layers of ruined ancient towns of different periods) or at the site of a one-period settlement (i.e., a place that was founded on natural land and after a time came to be destroyed or abandoned and never rebuilt).
Various techniques of excavation exist and the choice of the techniques employed depends largely on the characteristics of the site being excavated.
Prior to this the field of biblical interpretation was dominated by the writings provided by Jewish travelers and Christian pilgrims, in which uneven accounts of their observations of antiquities in the southern Levant were provided.
Much of this information was collated while traveling the country along predetermined routes, under the supervision of local guides, and with the purpose of visiting sites that were primarily of biblical interest.
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Historic Mediterranean type landscapes in the southern Levant tend to be regarded by archaeologists as places characterized by an assemblage of features pertaining to a variety of extramural human activities, such as agricultural pursuits (terraces and field systems) and industrial work (stone quarrying and lime and charcoal burning), all of which, of course, necessitated the establishment of a system of communications (roads and paths) so as to form links between farms and villages, and towns and markets.