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ANT112- Intro to Archaeology- Exam 1 Study Guide

by: emilyecclestone

ANT112- Intro to Archaeology- Exam 1 Study Guide ANT 112

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Topics: What is Archaeology? Archaeology as Culture History Archaeology as Anthropology How do we do archaeology? New Technologies in Archaeology Survey Excavation Preservation & Interpreta...
Introduction to Archaeology
Dr. Verity Whalen
Study Guide
Archaeology, culture history, google earth, Survey, excavation, preservation, Interpretation
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This 12 page Study Guide was uploaded by emilyecclestone on Tuesday February 16, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to ANT 112 at Wake Forest University taught by Dr. Verity Whalen in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 88 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Archaeology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at Wake Forest University.

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Date Created: 02/16/16
Intro to Archaeology- Exam 1 What is Archaeology? 4 Subgroups of Anthropology 1.   Biological Anthropology a.   Study of human biology, how it evolved and how it's related to cultural behavior 2.   Linguistic Anthropology a.   Study of how languages develop and how they are related to society 3.   Sociocultural Anthropology a.   Study of contemporary human societies and their cultural behavior 4.   Archaeology a.   Study of the human past through material remains (scientific) Archaeology •   Definition- scientific study of the human past through materials and material remains…objects, landscapes and what we make of them o   Body of knowledge on human social behavior o   Set of methods (data collection and analysis) o   Body of assumptions about relationship between behavior and material (realm of interpretation) Artifacts- •   Portable objects that have been modified completely or partially by human activity •   The static remains of past dynamic behavior •   Can move around form where they were originally deposited •   i.e.--> stone, bone, metal tools, pottery, artwork, religious and sacred items Features- •   Cultural remains that cannot be recovered from the context in which they are found •   Non-portable archaeological evidence •   i.e.--> fire hearths, architectural elements, artifact clusters, garbage pits, soil stains Ecofacts- •   Objects that are the remains of biological organisms or the results of geological processes in an archaeological location •   Plant or animal remains found at an archaeological site Site(s)- •   Cluster of artifacts and features together History of Archaeology Classical Cultural Evolutionism •   Attempts to understand societal differentiation •   Differences between Europeans and Americans •   Proximity to native populations •   How and why the differentiation came to be •   Development of comparative method •   Understandings of the world and the past Evolutionism •   Savagery--> hunters and gatherers •   Barbarianism--> simple farming, domestication •   Civilization--> writing and sophisticated arts Cultural Evolution •   Stages of "progress" Cultural Diffusion •   The spreading of ideas from one group or people to another o   Innovation o   Explains diversity of societies Archaeology as Culture History Goal- understanding cultural diversity as a whole…create a unified reason Culture History •   1st half of 20th century •   Chronological and spatial ordering of archaeological material •   Sees the past as working in many ways like a simplified version of the present •   Common sense prevails   • Goals o   Track migration and development, diffusion of ideas •   Style--> useful, but problematic concept o   Form o   Decoration o   Materials o   Construction techniques •   All listed above are… o   Wholestic attributes o   Cohesive relationship o   Used for categorizing Culture History •   What's good? o   Regional chronologies •   Seriation of artifact types •   Stratigraphy §   Where they are spatially and orderly •   Broad patterns in prehistory §   What happened when •   What's bad? o   Self-fulfilling narratives o   Not about how/why something happened •   No explanation for stability or change o   Afraid of speculation Culture History Critique •   Pots ¹ people •   Interpretation ¹ speculation •   Need chronology •   Lacking of thinking about who created it and why In situ Development •   "In the place" where an artifact was found •   Style change over time Cultural Diffusion •   The spreading of ideas from one group of people to another Induction- •   Inductive reasoning o   Working from specific observation to more general hypotheses •   Wanted to acquire more data--> entire point of it all Archaeology as Anthropology Processual Archaeology   • Takes a scientific approach and focuses on the material factors of life •   Ideational perspective o   Deals with ideas and symbols o   Sees culture as an instrument to create meaning and order in one's world Processual Archaeology Critique •   Cultural evolution generalizes •   Culture as adaptation= problematic o   Cultures and societies changes were cohesive •   Changes were actually environmental •   Can't predict how societies will act o   Search for universal laws = problematic o   Explicitly scientific methods/objectivity not really possible •   Need to think critically •   SHOULD be looking at how and why things change in context Post-Processual Archaeology •   Takes a more historical approach and emphasizes on symbolic meanings, power relationships, individual actions & gender •   Adaptive perspective o   Emphasizes those aspects of culture that articulate with the environment, technology and economics o   Sees culture as the way in which humans adapt to their natural and social environment Processual Archaeology Post-processual Archaeology •   Emphasizes evolutionary •   Rejects the search for universal laws generalizations and and regularities, not historical regularities specifics •   Sees the individual's day-to-day •   Downplays the importance of the negotiation of power, status, and individuals gender relationships as driver of •   Focuses explanation on material change factors (environment, •   Rejects the systemic view of culture in technology, demography) favor of an ideational perspective •   Views culture from a systemic •   Less enthusiastic about the centrality of perspective and defines culture as scientific methods and possibility of adaptation objectivity •   Explicitly scientific and objective •   Argues that all archaeology is •   Attempts to remain ethically neutral unavoidably political •   Claims to be explicitly nonpolitical Deduction •   Deductive Reasoning o   Reasoning from theory to predict specific observational or experimental results •   Start at the top with the big question •   Hypothesize then collect data •   Plan before digging (plan of action) Three levels of theory that a scientific approach in archaeology entails •   Low-level theory o   Involves the observations that emerge from archaeological fieldwork o   This is how archaeologists get their "data," their "facts" •   Middle-level theory o   Links archaeological data with human behavior or natural processes o   It is produced through experimental archaeology, taphonomy (study of natural processes on archaeological sites) and enthnoarchaeology (study of living peoples to see links between behavior and material remains) •   High-level theory provides answers to larger "why" questions How do these relate to paradigms? •   Paradigms are frameworks for thinking that relate concepts and provide research strategies. They apply to intellectual inquiry in general and are not specific to archaeology Other Ways to Think About the Past Marxist Archaeology •   Application of Marxist Theory to understanding human culture, society •   Study of class distinction struggle and power Interpretive Archaeology •   Argues for putting the individual back into history •   Argues there are multiple views of the past and exploring these multiple ways   Feminist/Gendered • Thinking/acting critically about identities in the past and Archaeology professional practice in the present •   Counter acting what went on during processual archaeology •   Actively investigates gender in the society Evolutionary •   "how do you learn how you do something?" Archaeology •   How are methods transmitted Indigenous/Community •   Very interested in identity Archaeology •   Contemporary living people •   Goal--> Make archaeology more democratized How Do We Do Archaeology? The Archaeological Record- •   The collective physical material remains (evidence) of the past •   Only the contemporary evidence left over from past behavior   • Rarely a direct reflection of past human behavior •   Archaeological Record is incomplete o   Didn’t make it into the record because it did preserve •   2 Ways of Thinking About the Archaeological Record o   "what you find, is what there was" a.   Not everything makes it into the archaeological record-->only get a partial perception on life o   "Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence Research Design •   Start with a question •   Build a research plan, present it to an institution (for funding) •   Layout expectations o   Layout what expected to find •   Create a methodology(ies) •   Select a sample o   Human remains •   Carry out research--> designed to address a specific thing •   Analyze recovered data •   Interpret (the data) Sites •   Clusters of artifacts, features and/or ecofacts •   How do we find sites? o   Some are obvious •   i.e. pyramids o   Some are less obvious •   i.e. architectural remains o   Some are found using technologies o   Some are completely obscure Approaching Archaeological Sites-Survey Site Discovery •   Lucky finds •   Consulting available sources- studies, records, older informants •   Maps and aerial photographs •   GIS/Remote Sensing Archaeological Survey •   BEFORE fancy technology--> walking across the landscapes to find sites on the ground o   Identify sites o   Identify settlements •   Space and landscape o   Where sites are found is important and meaningful o   How people inhabit the landscape tells us about them and helps us understand their culture/way of life o   Density and proximity of sites is also key o   Reasons for settlement •   Resources •   Agriculture Why do archaeologists "survey"? •   Because no single site reveals everything about an ancient society What is the main principle of survey? •   To generate a representative sample of a landscape. Sometimes a survey is randomized to ensure that every site has an equal chance of being included in the sample Why does this matter? •   It matters because if we only look at the "logical" places, we will almost certainly bias the sample and our reconstruction of the past New Methods in Archaeology •   Google Earth Pros Cons •   Accessibility •   Low resolution of images •   Can essentially study from •   Possible use of Google Earth above by looters •   Can reach inaccessible locations •   Ethical issues of •   Cheap dehumanization •   Documentation and representation o   Easier to document sites •   Does not show topography o     Layout of site • Anomalies in topography are •   Same access as visiting the site difficult to interpret •   Precision   • Accuracy •   GIS, GPS •   Photographing sites •   Locations are more precisely documented •   Spatial/landscape analysis •   Assessments of looting Case Studies in New Technology •   "The Los Rivers of the South Coast" o   Study done by Dr. Whalen o   Google Earth surveying •   Found an unsurvey land/region §   Huge settlements §   Ancient artificial agriculture terraces (2,000ft above sea-level) •   Implications §   Strategic use of time •   Covered immense area in 2 days §   Reshaped idea of Nazca society and settlement patters §   Cost efficient •   Would have cost a large amount of money, but only cost about $150 Approaching Archaeological Sites- Excavation Excavation--> second primary part of archaeology What is Excavation? •   "the digging" •   "finding the cool stuff" •   Very careful •   Based on scientific methodology Why do Archaeologists Excavate? •   Provides deeper understanding of social processes o   Survey= regional perspective o   Excavation= detailed, local perspective •   Gives a nuance understanding •   Can have drawbacks o   Sites can be an outlier, not relevant to the rest of the case study (only if excavated) •   Best practice--> use both survey and excavation together Principles of Archaeological Excavation •   Excavation o   Principle of context   • Physical location where remains are found in the archaeological record •   Looting disturbs context •   No context= no data   • Provenience= precise 3D location of remains •   Datum--> vertical point §   A point that provides a point of reference for measuring depth…3D point in space •   A grid provides a means of controlling horizontal point •   Matrix §   Physical substance surrounding remains •   Law of Superposition §   Layers of earth are stratified §   When *undisturbed* top strata are younger than lower layers •   Oldest layers on bottom, newest on top (except fault block mountains--> reversed) §   If disturbed, reverse stratigraphy can occur •   When people excavate older deposits to create a mound •   Law of Association §   The relationship between an artifact and its surroundings (including other artifacts) Why does context matter? •   Because information comes from what artifacts are associated with each other, with features, and with particular strata. •   It's not enough to know that an artifact came from a particular sites o   We need to know how it relates to everything else found at the site How is it recorded? •   It is recorded by the provenience of artifacts, features, and ecofacts •   Provenience is recorded with a variety of technologies-total stations, photography, etc.                 Types of Excavation Type Description Horizontal •   Emphasizes digging relatively large horizontal areas of a site to Excavation the bottom of the cultural deposits •   Exposing a broad area of a site to reconstruct a particular moment in time •   i.e. Pompeii   Vertical Excavation • Emphasizes digging relatively small horizontal areas of a site to the bottom of the cultural deposits •   Exposing the record sequence of events through small but deep trench cuts •   i.e. Gatecliff Working in Squares •   Grid systems vs excavating within buildings •   Grid squares o   Easy to work with squares o   Can easily add more units o   Gives control of what you are excavating Household •   Using the actual wall of the building to be the unit you are Excavation excavating Preservation & Archaeological Interpretation How are items preserved? •   Material o   Some materials resist deterioration: •   Bone- skulls and teeth •   Stone or metal- tools, ornaments •   Seeds with protective cover •   Environment o   Arid climates- Peruvian Coast o   Water- Planks at Ozette (Washington Coast) o   Peat moss- the "Bog People" in Scandinavia o   Ice- Otzi the "Iceman" in Italian Alps o   Volcanic ash- Cerén, El Salvador Issue of Preservation •   Stuff rots, erodes away •   Perishable (organic remains)- quick to decompose o   Cloth, nets, hide, wood •   Semi- perishable ("hard" organic remains) o   Bone, seeds, burnt wood •   Non-perishable o   Stone, ceramic, metal What impacts how sites form? •   Archaeological sites= palimpsests o   Don’t represent things exactly how they were •   Product of human activity behavior •   Product of natural factors o   Flora and fauna content, geographical surrounding/location, geological •   Post-abandonment--> process of transformation o   Nature takes over--> Grass grows over, wind erosion, water erosion •   Archaeological sites never stop transforming Dating & Chronology Absolute Dating Techniques- Type Description Dendrochronology •   "Tree-ring dating"   • The use of annual growth ring in trees to assign calendar ages to ancient wood samples •   Light rings= spring/summer •   Dark Rings= late-summer/fall •   Counting the rings--> year by year dating tool •   Need at least 20 rings for a sample •   Limitations- •   Can't be in an area without trees •   Can lose count when counting •   Only a certain amount of trees can be dated •   Sequence cannot be extended beyond the region it was developed in Radiocarbon Dating •   The use of decay of the radioactive isotope (Carbon 14) 14 C to date organic materials that are up to 45,000 BP •   Requires calibration--> Calibration curve reliable to only about 11,000 years   • Accelerator mass spectrometry permits dating of minute sample •   Charcoal is the most common material dated •   The point is to look at the half life •   Limitations- •   Require a large amount of material and carbon to get a recent date Thermoluninescence •   A trapped charge dating technique used on ceramics and burned stone artifacts--anything mineral that has been heated above 500C   • Measures the total radiation dose by heating up a specimen rapidly to 500C •   Results when trapped electrons in quartz and feldspar crystals slip free and move back to their orbits...releasing energy in the form of light •   Dates the last time an object was heated up 500C Optically Stimulated •   A trapped charge dating technique used to date Luminescence sediments •   The age is the time elapsed between the last time a few moments' of exposure to sunlight reset the clock to 0 and the present •   Dates the last time sand was exposed to sunlight sufficient to empty the electron traps •   Relies on the fact that some of the trapped electrons are sensitive to light as well as heat •   Samples must avoid sunlight •   Labs must date individual grains •   It dates dirt Electron Spin •   A trapped charge technique used to date tooth Resonance enamel and burned stone tools, corals and shells •   It can date teeth that are beyond the range of radiocarbon dating •   Dates when a tooth was buried •   Electron traps reset by exposure to electromagnetic radiation in lab •   Limitations- •   Can only date a limited amount of materials •   Doesn’t give an exact single year, only dates to a range Argon-Argon •   A high-precision method for estimating the relative quantities of A and A gas 40 •   Must know about potassium-argon dating •   There must have been argon trapped at the time of rock formation •   Dates the eruption that produced the ash •   Used to date volcanic ashes that are between 500,000-serveral million years old •   Needs small sample •   Limitations- •   Not as precise as radiocarbon dating Difference between relative and absolute dating- •   Relative Dating o   Places sites, strata, features and artifacts in relative order without saying how much older or younger one site, stratum, feature, or artifact is than another •   Absolute Dating o   Provides specific ages or specific age ranges o   Are absolute in the sense that they provide a particular age range at know level of probability Major dating techniques of historic sites- •   Documentary evidence often provides dates for historical sites •   When such evidence is not available, known ages of particular artifact types are generated to create a range or median ages for historical features or sites Archaeological Dates   • Dating techniques tell us nothing directly about cultural activities •   Radiocarbon dating tells us when a plant or an animal died •   It is up to archaeologists to relate the event being dated to behavioral (cultural) event of interest Principles of Archaeological Typology •   Typology- the systemic arrangement of material culture into types o   Create groups (based on one or more attributes of the form) that minimizes the differences within each group and maximizes the differences between groups o   Construct these groups through an objective, explicit and replicable process o   Recognize that there is no single "correct" typology o   A typology's usefulness is judged relative to the question it is used to answer


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