ANTH 1102 Lecture Notes
Tuesday, August 28
o “What is ethnography?”- To attempt to grasp the native’s point of view, their relation to life and to realize their vision of their world. Provides a deep, cultural context so that people from outside can really understand what is going on.
o Where is it done?
Marketing firms, design agencies, national park service (how different types of people make use of park services in order to better design them for people visiting), census
bureau, healthcare sector (how different types of people
are differentially engaging in the healthcare system),
remote islands in the pacific.
o Ethnographic methods
Observation of people
∙ Need to be good observors become people don’t
realize what they do, people aren’t always
forthcoming and tend to dissemble what they do
∙ Triangulating data that you collect; “who is collecting We also discuss several other topics like mkt 360
the water, when do they do it, how long do these
activities take”, “
∙ Time allocation- frequency, duration, costs/benefits
∙ Social contacts
Engaging with people
Analyzing, comparing and contrasting different societies. ∙ Is adolescence a human universal?
∙ How do games and sport vary?
∙ Is incest a universal taboo? If you want to learn more check out servius tulius
∙ What is childhood like?
Human Relations Area Files- promote understanding of
cultural diversity and community in the past and present.
Example: Do all societies engage in practices that lead to altered states of consciousness.
∙ Yes, the HRAF files say yes.
∙ Have been around for 100,000 years
∙ Three types: possession of spirits, soul leaving body,
going on a journey
o Since mid 19th century
o Reconstructing material remains
o Reconstructing human lifeways
o Explaining cultural processes
Archeologists started trying to understand these belief systems more recently If you want to learn more check out ssh 105 ryerson
o Contextual archeology
∙ Archeology concepts:
o Material remains
Artifacts, features and other items such as plant and animal remains that indicate human activity
Ex. Bones and skulls
∙ Any object made, affected, used, or modified in some way by human beings
∙ Flora and fauna material; used, not made, by
humans; Seeds, pollen, animal bone, insects, fish
bones, and mollusks
∙ Example: animal bones show what people ate, when the animals became domesticated, butchered for
rituals, where the bones are across space
∙ Non-moveable parts of an archaeological site; a wall, hearth, storage pit, or burial.
∙ Example: looking at walls and how they stand
∙ Any location that demonstrates past human
activity ,as evidence by the presence of artifacts,
features, ecofacts or other material remains.
∙ Identified through remote sensing and construction
o LiDAR- Light Detection and Ranging
Can penetrate leaves and ground cover, while satellite cannot.
Can get down to the sub-centimeter level and penetrate into the soil, so sub soil readings.
Thursday, August 30
How do you see the world?
∙ Artifacts, eco-facts, features, and sites are material remains within archeology concepts. Don't forget about the age old question of aldononose
∙ What artifacts would scientists find of ours a century from now? o Furniture, technological remains, jewelry, textbooks
o These artifacts will tell the researchers about our trading, social stratification, the complexity of our society when it comes to intelligence from developing electronics.
∙ What features?
o With dorms, which are made from cinderblocks, could be compared to other institutional buildings, like prisons.
o Social aspects of how we live
∙ Fieldwork strategies
o Systematic survey- give a regional perspective; looking over large areas; surficial areas. Can be accomplished by walking or remote sensing.
Can tell us about settlement patterns and relationships
Looking over the material remains and making note of
Communities don’t live in isolation; we need to understand not only what happens in one site, but the relationship
Topography or contour mapping to help understand the sites
∙ Where people might have settled when it comes to
∙ Tells us about post-depositional movement: the idea
that we have deposited our remains in a particular
area, but over centuries, they may have moved due
to natural occurrences like landslides.
Excavations: remove strata to look intensively at site
∙ super expensive and time consuming
∙ can’t undertake it lightly; need to know what you are
looking for and why you are at a certain place to get
the funding you need.
∙ Dating Sites
o Relative dating: establishes a time frame in relation to another object.
“older than” “younger than” “before” “after”
Law of Superposition- things that are deeper down, tend to be older because older layers are at the bottom
∙ In general it holds true, but certain situations or
circumstances could bring down older strata on top
of another artifact.
Index fossil- widespread organism but restricted in time to a brief existence
∙ Associate changes within a species with a certain
∙ Ex. Zooarchaeology
o Absolute dating: more precise, but not absolute dates.
Range of years with a certain level or accuracy and
∙ Estimate of dates within a range of error.
Tree Ring Chronologies
∙ Taking core from tree and look at the rings, which are
responsive to environmental conditions.
∙ Can match up the overlap of the years based on the
quality of the environment.
Radiometric techniques- more details can be found in
∙ Carbon-14: dates organic material; recent remains
∙ Potassium Argon: inorganic substances; older
∙ Main Point: these techniques can be used, but only in
the right context.
∙ Human Remains: who owns what?
o Who has/had rights to the remains? What are the ethics in anthropology?
o Will discuss at a later date.
Part 2: What is culture?
∙ Culture: sets of learned behaviors and ideas that human beings acquire as members of society, together with material artifacts and structures that human beings create and use.
o Key concept: Learned behaviors
o Everyone is part of a culture
∙ Culture defines:
o What we think of as natural and moral, which are both learned. Natural- values, dress, manners roles
∙ Ex. Personal space; Europeans are more affectionate
Moral- norms, behaviors
o Inclusion and Exclusion
∙ What makes us uniquely human?
o Does culture make us uniquely human?
∙ What was the purpose of the Nacirema article?
o To show how other cultures are different than ours; whether a behavior is in your culture or not, it is probably in someone else’s.
o People look at Americans and think we are different. ∙ What did you learn about the Nacirema? Yourself?
∙ Describe the shrine? Temple?