However, surveying isn’t always used for aiding in the construction of buildings and other structures, it can be used as a means for discovery. This is precisely what is occurring in Zacatecas, Mexico, where archaeologists are excavating in El Teul Archeological Zone. El Teul is known for its wealth of artifacts, according to an article in Opti-Cal:
“El Teul, in Zacatecas, is one of the few Mesoamerican sites that was occupied continuously for as long as 18 centuries. Excavations so far have unearthed items including an enormous Prehispanic sculpture of a ballgame player that is thought to have been deliberately created without a head. Historians of the era believe its lack of head could have meant it was used as a pedestal to display the real heads of sacrificed players of the ritual ballgame. Archaeologist Peter Jimenez Betts, who is co-director of the El Teul Archaeological Project, said the abundance of objects is the result from a continued occupation that the hill presented for at least 1,800 years.”
In this special case, land surveying is helping archaeologists discover new elements in the fabric of Mesoamerican history. Artifacts that will potentially be discovered using three dimensional models from total stations might open up new avenues of study in this historic people.