ANT2100 Exam III Study Guide
Artifact Analysis and Interpretations: After the Excavation
∙ Washing- get them clean so it can be analyzed
∙ Conservation- process of treating artifacts so they decay slower ∙ Reconstruction- refitting, mending, putting pieces back together ∙ Cataloging- writing a number on the artifact in ink
The Hunley: a confederate submarine that sank, the remains found were reburied Analysis of artifacts
Typology: classification of artifacts into types a. Separating into types on the field – general or gross categories If you want to learn more check out When did agriculture start?
b. Separating into types in the lab – finer or more specific categories
Types of Types
Type: class of archaeological artifacts defined by similar attributes
1. Morphological type: outward appearance, descriptive
∙ Group of individual artifacts
∙ Similar overall, not necessarily similar in function or chronological period however
∙ Ex. Stone disks all look like bagels
2. Temporal type: time markers Don't forget about the age old question of What are the four island types?
∙ Ex. Paleoindian points such as Clovis, Suwannee, and Simpson
3. Functional types: what their purpose is
a. All are used for same thing, doesn’t matter what they look like or when they were made
b. Ex. There are many ways a fishing rod/hook can look in diff cultures but they are all same functional type
Fiber-temper ceramics: temper is an agent added to clay to make stronger ceramics; plants
Middle-Range Research: Taphonomy, Experimental Archaeology and
Middle Range Research: infer behaviors, explains why there’s a necessary relationship between the artifact’s attributes and makes an inference about it
a. Ex. Theory on Clovis points as spear points? Animals they hunted at the time were big so Clovis points needed to be big.
b. Link material remains to human behavior/natural processes
c. Principle of uniformitarianism says relationships in present true of the past because they are inherent to the objects/actions being observed
Taphonomy: Study of how artifacts and features become a part of archaeological record We also discuss several other topics like What is the social exchange model?
Efremov first published on taphonomy
∙ Look for patterns in data
∙ To understand human behavior, isolate it by explaining everything natural first (more predictable)
∙ N-transforms: natural/non-cultural activities
o Weathering on bones, freezing, vegetation growth, bioturbation (animal burrows)
∙ C-transforms: cultural
o Purposefully buried deposits, burning, cut marks, demolition of structure
Hudson-Meng Bison Bonebed in Nebraska
∙ Human behavior was inferred from patterns in remains.
o The presence of humans, hunting strategy, group size, food storage from patterning
∙ Tops of bison skulls were missing and Larry Agenbroad knew that Native Americans use bison brain in tanning hides and decided that that’s what was going on here too
Page/Ladson site in Aucilla River, FL We also discuss several other topics like What is the function of the vestibulospinal tract?
a. Mastodon tusk found underwater, they found lines and cuts on them that looked like stone tools so they knew humans were involved. HOWEVER, can’t just to conclusion that they hunted them.
Experimental archaeology: recreating past behaviors to understand material remains
∙ Making artifacts
∙ Fired ceramics
∙ How artifacts were used
Ethnoarchaeology: participating/observing current living cultures and applying to archaeology & material remains, social relationships
∙ Lewis Binford studied Eskimo Hunters in Alaska, made the Binford Drop/Toss Model around a fire pit
∙ Links human behavior with observable material remain to explain relationship between people’s behaviors and objects
Zooarchaeology and Paleoethnobotany
Zooarchaeology: study of past human/animal relation from faunal (animal) remains If you want to learn more check out What are the four important determinants of productivity?
If you want to learn more check out What are the types of fat substitutes?
∙ Screening with window mesh/screen (standard = ¼ inch)
∙ Column Sampling (50x50cm units)
∙ Bulk Samples
∙ Identify it, type of animal, age, sex, what bone it is, what side is it ∙ NISP=number of individual specimens
∙ Any modifications to it? Taphonomic (weathered) or cultural (done by humans)?
∙ MNI=minimum number of individuals
o Ex. 5 right adult femurs, 4 left adult femurs, 1 left juvenile femur, at least 6 deer
∙ Biomass: total weight of animal when alive
∙ Species diversity (how many found at site) and Species Equitability Paleoethnobotany: analysis and interpretation of plant remains
Types of macrobotanical remains (nonmicroscopic)
a. Wood, seeds, nuts, nutshells, corn cobs
a. Charred/carbonized, desiccated, waterlogged, mineralized
Types of microbotanical remains
a. Phytoliths (tiny silica particles in plants), pollen grains
a. Sediments, cooking residues, tooth calculus, working edges of tools Other types of evidence for plant use
a. Plant impressions on pottery, plants used as tools, processing tools, depictions, chemical signatures (residues, isotopes)
Bioarchaeology: study of human skeletal remains
∙ Analyze remains to understand health, life, death, of people in the past ∙ Skeletal remains analyzed in complete or near-complete bone fragments
Osteology: study of bones
Burial population: group of human burials restricted to certain time period/region, usually in well-defined cemeteries
∙ Mixed burials
o Charnel house: structure that eastern Native Americans used to lay out the dead where the body would decompose, the bones would be
buried/cremated after, lead to bundle burial
o Bundle burial: flexed burial, one is put in fetal position and wrapped in fabrics
Age-of-death identifiable by:
a. Tooth eruption, tooth wear & loss
b. Bone fusion
c. Suture fusion
d. Bone wear
Paleopathology: study of ancient patterns of disease/disorders Porotic hyperostosis: iron deficiency in skull. Spongy appearance Cribra orbitalia: porotic hyperostosis in eyes
Harris lines: horizontal lines near the ends of long bones indicating trauma, stress, stop of growth, malnutrition. Disappear later in life
Enamel hypoplasias: essentially Harris lines on teeth, but stay forever
Osteoarthritis: loss of cartilage between joints from overuse, leads to eburnation (very smooth parts as a result of bones rubbing together)
Paleodemography: study of ancient demographic patterns and trends
a. Life expectancy at birth
b. Age profile of population
c. Patterns in ages of death
d. Mortality profiles (charts that show ages of death)
Diets can be reconstructed from skeletal remains Caries: cavities, form when food stays on your teeth. Bacteria forms on it and it dissolves tooth enamel and can make holes in your mouth. Can lead to death.