Exam 1 Study Guide
Exam 1 Study Guide ANTH 1003
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This 7 page Study Guide was uploaded by Hayley Seal on Friday February 12, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to ANTH 1003 at George Washington University taught by Dr. Susan Johnston in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 109 views. For similar materials see Archaeology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at George Washington University.
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Date Created: 02/12/16
What is Archaeology? The study of created objects Centered around culture Culture is: Learned Shared Symbolic Ideological (produces behavior) Physical (produces material objects) Patterned within and between groups o Similar: all humans have shared traits o Different: certain groups tend to produce certain types of things over an extended period of time Based on deductive reasoning: starting with a question then collecting data to answer it The scientific method: 1. Define problem/question 2. Hypothesis must be testable, repeatable, falsifiable 3. Implications 4. Data collection 5. Test hypothesis 6. Accept, reject, revise, retest hypothesis Research design: 1. Formulation of a research strategy 2. Collecting and recording of evidence 3. Processing and analysis of evidence 4. Publication Occam’s Razor: the best explanation… Accounts for the most evidence Disregards the least evidence Requires the fewest assumptions The Nature of Archaeological Evidence Artifacts = portable objects used, modified, or produced by people Features = non-portable traces people live in the ground (digging holes, building things) “Ecofacts” = organic or biological evidence (plant or animal remains) Context = where an artifact comes from; tells the most significant information about evidence and gives artifacts most of their value Matrix = conditions and make-up of soil or sediment surrounding the object Provenience = exact position of an artifact within the matrix Association = an artifact’s relationship to other evidence How things get into the ground: Original deposition (discard, loss, storage, ritual deposit) Natural transforms (freezing, thawing, erosion, plant growth, animals) Cultural transforms (agriculture, construction, re-use of a site) Preservation depends on… Material and original condition of object Context (matrix, climate, and natural disasters) Inorganic materials (especially stone tools, fired clay, and some metals) survive well while most organic materials do not Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence Finding Sites Site = concentration of evidence for human behavior in the past; basic unit of excavation Shovel testing is used before construction to avoid destruction of sites Cultural research management = sites in areas under threat from development are located, recorded, and possibly excavated prior to their destruction Survey = systematically walking over the ground to look for evidence on the surface that there might be a site underneath; non-destructive Organize the area by transects or grids Sampling preserves time and money Aerial photography identifies differences in the landscape not visible from the surface o Plant/crop growth variations, earthworks, and soil-marks o LiDAR can laser-scan landscapes even beneath tree cover o Satellite photography is useful at the largest scale Remote sensing identifies what might be sites/features from above ground o Ground penetrating radar (sandy, dry conditions) o Electrical sensitivity (based on density of ground) o Magnetometry (based on magnetic signature of ground) Documentary sources (historical records) can locate Classical, biblical, and relatively recent sites Excavation Process of removing layers of dirt in reverse order of their deposition and recovering the data they contain Main archaeological tool; confirms what surveying suggests Destructive process; can only be done once so record keeping is very important (notes, pictures, drawings) Based on stratigraphy: dirt forms in layers and layers have stuff in them Layers can be natural or artificial Vertical relationships show change over time Horizontal relationships show contemporary activities Sampling preserves time and money: whole sites are rarely excavated Can be systematic/simple (using a pattern) or random Risk of systematic sampling: you could potentially hit or miss every piece of evidence if it was deposited in a pattern Risk of random sample: you could miss interesting places found in surveys Grid is established by a transit attached to a fixed spot Maintains horizontal control and vertical control to record exactly where data was found Screening and flotation recover smaller artifacts Artifacts must be processed to get information from them Cleaned labelled/tagged bagged and catalogued stored Archaeological Dating General trend as dating techniques improve: things are getting older (dated earlier) and events are getting farther apart Designations: BC/AD today most use BCE/CE instead BP = before 2000 (in radiocarbon dating it is specifically before 1950) Chronologies involve construction (use of many dating techniques to put things in order) Relative dating can determine if something is older or younger than something else but not by how much Stratigraphy requires interpretation to identify layers and any disturbance/shifting o Law of superpositioning: things lower down are generally earlier than things higher up o Association: things in the same layer are generally from the same time period Typological sequences: artifacts with the same characteristics were probably produced at the same time (“like goes with like”); relating artifacts to each other o Style = artifacts made or designed in the same way o Assemblage = association of artifacts in the same stratigraphical layer o Assemblages can be compared: Vertically – typologies change over time Horizontally – difference sites with similar types of objects of the same time period The environment records changes in the earth’s climate that can be used to make chronologies o Deep-sea cores, ice-cores, and pollen dating Why use relative dating? Because absolute dating… o Is not always possible if materials are not available or large enough o Is often destructive o Is expensive o Should be cross-checked with relative dating Absolute dating attaches exact, absolute dates to an object Principles of absolute dating: o We know how much there was o We know how much there is now o We know the rate of change Carbon-14 dating = dates the moment when organic material dies. Limitations: o Requires organic material o Destructive o Statistical product (date has a standard deviation) o Only works up to 45,000 years ago o Measures death, not life o Requires calibration Dendrochronology (tree rings) are accurate to within 1 year can calibrate C-14 dates o Problem: wood does not preserve well & may have been transported, used much later than it was cut down, etc. so that it isn’t representative of its immediate context Potassium-argon (K-Ar) dating is used to date things (often volcanic rock) that are millions of years old; requires a heating event as its zero point Thermoluminescence measures released light; also requires a heating event Archaeological Interpretation Low-level theory = basic observations based on direct analogy High-level theory = answers larger questions about how humans perceive the world around them Middle-range theory (best) links the two; connects broader patterns and evidence with things like ethnoarchaeology, experimental archaeology, etc. Uniformitarianism = an assumption that things in the past were broadly the same as things in the present (erosion, natural selection, etc.) Archaeological examples: use-wear of stone tools, age of teeth eruption, ideas about how status is represented with material objects Analogy is the basis of uniformitarianism = comparison of 2 things based on what they do have in common and therefore arguing that they also share other things that we can’t see directly Direct analogy uses specific behavior, general analogy uses broad patterns Experimental archaeology = a way to get information to be able to make analogies Ethnography = gaining ethnographic information that can be specifically applied to the archaeological record by making analogies Modern societies used must be analogous to archaeological societies/questions Lewis Binford used ethnography from cultural anthropology and applied specifically it to archaeology 4 major classifications of societies: Mobile hunter-gatherer groups (less than 100 people, egalitarian social structure) Segmentary societies (up to a few thousand people, includes settled farmers and pastoralists) Chiefdoms (5000 to 20,000 people, kinship-based ranking) States (more than 20,000 people, class-based hierarchy) The “hunter-gatherer question”: have modern hunter-gatherer groups changed so much that they can no longer be legitimately used for ethnographical comparisons? Modern groups are definitely not ancient hunter-gatherers, but they are our closest model for ethnographic comparison Other ways to study social structure/groups: Settlement analysis – organization of settlements indicates social organization Burial analysis – grave goods in individual burials indicate rank and social status Monuments and public works – scale indicates social organization Written records Archaeology of the Environment “Ecofacts” make up the vast majority of the archaeological record, especially microflora and skeletal remains of animals More small evidence is present than large Plant remains can tell us what kinds of vegetation was around and possibly what people were eating (especially evidence of domesticated vs. wild plant species) Small plant remains are recovered more often than large ones o Pollen: lasts a long time but can move out of its immediate context o Phytoliths: last a long time but requires finer processing Macroflora does not preserve well; people probably had a lot more stuff than we credit them with Skeletal remains of animals are a huge part of the archaeological record because they preserve well Bits and pieces are more likely to be found than macrofauna Microfauna adapt quicker and therefore are more reflective of environmental change Taphonomy = what happens after animal bones get into the archaeological record Useful information from animal bones: o Minimum number of individuals (MNI) present can indicate population size; measured by counting number of a specific bone o Number of individual specimens present (NISP) does not necessarily indicate population size o Seasonal traits of animals (such as antler growth of red deer) can provide information about when people used a site and what they used it for o Domesticated animals provide a new food source and can indicate changes in settlement patterns (pastoralists, dairying societies) Sea-cores and ice-cores give evidence of changes in global climate; tree rings give evidence of changes in local climate Archaeology of People Bodies may be mummified or preserved, either by specific preparation for burial or natural environmental conditions Most human remains are skeletal remains (mineral component of bones) Assessing human physical attributes: best done with a group of people, variety of ages/sex, and understanding the parameters of the population they come from Sex can be determined via intact bodies or skeletal remains o Sexual dimorphism = differences between skeletal structure of males and females o Specifically the pelvis (females have wider pelvises to accommodate childbirth) Age is determined by growth patterns of bones and teeth eruption o Bones of the skull are not fused at birth; younger individuals can be dated using the fusion of these bones o Ends of long bones fuse at different ages Facial reconstructions suggest what people may have looked like; need complete or partial skull Genetic relationships between individuals can be determined by skull shape, hair type, teeth, and blood group What do bones tell us about the individual? Studying disease in human remains can indicate geographic origin, life history, exposure, resource availability, and medical technology/capability o Anemia causes porousness o Arthritis indicates stress over time, both physical exertion and age o Tuberculosis affects spine curvature Trauma o Heavier muscles/more physical exertion causes “roughness” on bones o Healed fractures leave evidence of where they were broken Cultural practices o Foot binding and corset-wearing affect growth and damage natural bone structure o Cradleboarding or intentional shaping of the skull as the bones fuse together Warfare and violence o Arrowheads/weapons lodged in bone o Parry fracture = a specific type of fracture of the arm(s) caused by a sword Assessing diet from human remains: Individual meals = direct evidence of what humans in the past ate; preserved in stomach contents and fecal material Teeth = evidence of wear shows relative importance of meat and plants in diet; analysis of dental enamel gives direct evidence of what people were eating Isotopic evidence = provide a general idea of long-term diet
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