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UCR / Anthropology / ANTH 005 / What is the meaning of obvious sites?

What is the meaning of obvious sites?

What is the meaning of obvious sites?


School: University of California Riverside
Department: Anthropology
Course: introduction to Archaeology
Term: Fall 2018
Tags: Intro to Archaeology, Archaeology, and Anthropology
Cost: 50
Name: ANTH005 Midterm II Study Guide
Description: These notes are a review of what will be on the ANTH005 Test and will supplement the lecture slides for the upcoming midterm. I've listed the Lecture Dates as well as textbook pages. for certain key concepts for easier studying.
Uploaded: 11/09/2018
7 Pages 20 Views 3 Unlocks

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ANTH005 Midterm II Study Guide

What is the meaning of obvious sites?


Small Scale - the scale of artifacts, ecofacts, and features

Medium Scale - the scale of sites

Sites are spatial groupings of cultural materials

Sites can be organized in different ways

Large Scale - the scale of regions

Regions are the most flexible spatial cluster of archaeological data

Definiable area bounded by topographic features such as mountains

Lecture Notes 10/25 and Page -- in Textbook

Finding Sites

Obvious Sites - Obvious on the surface - Mesa Verde

Invisible Sites - Some sites are invisible on the surface - Ceren, El Salvador

Surface survey (Pedestrian Surveying)

Historical Texts - Using Historical Texts to find Archaeological Sites

What is the meaning of invisible sites?

Finding Troy (parts were already uncovered so identifying the bounds of Troy) Environment

Using the Environment to find sites

Local informants

Anedes are people who cut boundary lines so they know the land well and can guide you to what you are looking for

Convincing people you are looking for things and aren’t crazy We also discuss several other topics like When is contact hypothesis utilized?

Lecture Notes 10/25 and Page 88 in Textbook

Aerial Remote sensing

LiDAR - Light Based Aerial Mapping (short for Laser distance and ranging)

Satellite scanners record the intensity of reflected light and infrared radiation.

Accurate digital elevation model

Can map through dense forest canopy We also discuss several other topics like What are the top natural resources of brazil?

Aerial Survey and Photography

What is the meaning of the surface survey?

Oblique vs Vertical Angle

Oblique angle is used to see features; preferred angle for archaeologists

Vertical angle is directly overhead; used for maps

We also discuss several other topics like What is the difference between horizontal and vertical proliferation?
Don't forget about the age old question of Which feeling of a person does internalized norm involve?

Crop Marks

Aerial Photography

Photographs have often been taken during different seasons or over a span of years as visibility can change

Most common platform is in airplanes, other options are drones, balloons and kites equipped with remote-controlled cameras

It provides data for preliminary analysis of the local environment and its resources Satellite Imagery Don't forget about the age old question of What are some examples of delusion?

LANDSAT (infrared vs. thermal)

Infrared; Infrared wavelength (e.g. health of vegetation)

Thermal: how heat flows through a material

Google Earth

Ground Truthing

Checking at ground level to determine what the various contrasting patterns and feature visible on aerial imagery Don't forget about the age old question of What is the difference between basic ethics and applied ethics?

Subsurface remote sensing

Electromagnetic Survey - Also known as Electromagnetic Survey

Resistivity Survey - measures the differences in ability of subsurface features to conduct electrical current

Magnetic Susceptibility


Magnetometers are instruments that discern minor variations in the magnetism present in many materials. Unlike the compass, magnetometers measure the magnetic field intensity Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)

Sends electromagnetic waves into the earth to be reflected as echoes by subsurface discontinuities, such as soil strat and constructed features

Subsurface Probe

Used to detect and record archaeological evidence beneath the surface by ground-based remote sensing methods.

Depth Probes

Core and Auger Survey

For excavation and control, coring and augering are two types of deeper excavation methods. Coring uses a tube that is stabbed in the test pit and gets a deep and neat strat sample. Auguring does similar work with a large drill run by humans or machines

Shovel test pit survey

Helps you discover levels of soil

Shovel probes in heavily wooded areas to check soil

Lecture Notes 10/25, 10/30, and 11/1 and Page 94 in Textbook


Mapping is always a balance between time/money and accuracy

Topographic and plan view - Elevation maps and building plans

Tape and Compass

Pace and Compass - using your steps to measure your distance

Total Station - measures angles very well. Has a rod with a reflective mirror. Gives precise distance, can measure distance and vertical angle


Remote Sensing Data

Environment and Preservation

Environmental Reconstruction - Climate can change thus causing the need for reconstruction Pollen analysis, what people were eating, the environment,. Ratios of pollen within the sample Phytolith Analysis - hard bodies found in the cell walls of plants

Page 141 in Textbook

Found in grasses, Microscopic silica structure, produced by some plants that persist after the decay of the plant

Faunal Analysis - Bones of Animals

What animals were there or what animals people ate

Isotopic analysis on different animal bones

Soil Analysis - how much carbon was in the air at the time

Sediment Analysis

Ice Coring - Get an idea of what the atmosphere was like in the past

Sea Levels - water expands when it is heated

Sea levels not only consider volume and amount of water but also the temperature Good Contexts

Most items that get preserved are usually durable

Dry - Dryness slows the rate at which microbes can eat away at the flesh

Peruvian mummy - cold and dry

Cold - Ice Man, Italy and Austria

Anaerobic (Wet) - Oxygen deprived

Bog Bodies

Curated Contexts

Necropants, 17th century Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft

Poor Contexts

Humid and Forest Environments

Plants, Roots, Ice Wedging, and Animal rich environments can damage artifacts Certain Plants and animals

Natural Disasters

Volcanoes - Pompeii

Landslides - Preserved Toy Canoe, Hominid Footprints

Natural Disasters can either preserve or destroy artifacts

Lecture Notes 10/30 and Page 67-70 in Textbook

Excavation and Control

Types of Excavation:

Core and augering, shovel test pits, test pits, trenches

Horizontal (Synchronic) Stripping - primarily deep probes of subsurface deposits. Their main thrust is vertical, and their principal objective is to reveal, in cross section, the depth, sequencing, and composition of archaeological remains. This category includes test pits, trenches, and tunnels.

Stratigraphic (Diachronic) Excavation - primarily at the horizontal investigation of deposits. Their main thrust is outward or across, and their principal objective is to reveal the horizontal extent of an archaeological deposit and the arrangement of objects within the deposit. Clearing excavations emphasize tracing continuities of single surfaces or deposits of varying extent.

Page 108 in Textbook

Excavating in Architecture

Methods and Equipment


Grids and Provenience

Wheeler Box Grid and other balks

Harris Matrix makes sense of depositional sequences

Horizontal control and the “world of string”

Provenience - Levels and datum

Vertical Control - See changes in soil through time

Stratigraphy: profile or cross section

Archaeological Terminology


Matrix - The soil and sediment that surrounds and supports the archaeological materials (artifacts, ecofacts, and features)

Provenience - The 3D position of the archaeological materials within, or on top of the matrix Association - The spatial relationships between two or more archaeological materials Lecture Notes 10/25 and Page 71 in Textbook

Middens - specialized areas for rubbish disposal apart from other activity areas.

Primary vs Secondary

Primary contexts refer to the conditions in which both provenience and matrix have remained undisturbed since the original deposition. Intact archaeological features are always in the primary context, although later disturbance can remove portions of such features from primary context.

Secondary contexts refer to alterations of provenience, association, and matrix by either human or natural activity. Many archaeological sites havebeen disturbed by subsequent human activity by accident or design.

Page 70-71 in Textbook

Transposed Primary Contexts

Use-related contexts

Collecting Excavated Artifacts/Ecofacts

Dry-screening - 1/4th inch mesh to sift through dirt to find artifacts

Wet-screening - 1/8th inch mesh to sift through dirt with water to find artifacts; difficult to get all sediment in a 1/4th inch mesh when dry

Floatation - Minute particles are separated from the soil with agitation by water

Lecture Notes 11/6 and Page 111 in Textbook


Tags, bags, forms, notes, photos, and drawings

Archaeology is destructive so you may be disturbing the site

You may not have the time or resources to come back


Law of Superposition - unless it’s been disturbed, things which are lower are older Relative Chronology - dating things in relation to each artifacts rather than a fixed timeline Soil Changes

Munsel Color Book used to identify soil color

Texture (clay, sand, and loam)

Lecture Notes 11/6 and Page 146-148 in Textbook

Site Formation Processes

We have to understand how archaeological contexts were form to understand what they mean Natural Formation Processes

Erosion, deposition, and redeposition


Bioturbation - Insects/animals tunneling or burrowing causing artifacts to move deeper causing artifacts to appear lower in the matrix than they originally were

Swartzkrans, South Africa

Animals eating hominids and dropping bodies after eating rather than hominids living in a cave Many bones had bite/gnawing marks from a cat on them

There was probably a tree where predators ate or hunted around

Cultural Formation Processes



Repurposing abandoned and Collapsed Architecture

Natural and Cultural Formation Processes





And Natural Transformation

* Life History of Sites/Artifacts

Acquisition - Quarrying Stone

Manufacture - Cutting Stones Down

Use/Reuse - Forming the Great Pyramids


This is a cycle with many repetitions and sites/artifacts can be repurposed and reused over time Lecture Notes 11/6 and Page -- in Textbook

Data Processing

As archaeological data are collected and recorded in the field, recovered materials and records are organized and processed. The processing of these raw forms of data ensures their preservation, security, and availability for study.

For artifacts and ecofacts, processing consists of cleaning, conserving, labeling by provenience, and sorting into basic categories to prepare them for later analysis.

Page 113 in Textbook


Stylistic Attributes - involves the most obvious descriptive characteristics believed to reflect the choices of its maker: its color, texture, decoration, alterations, and other traits.

Form Attributes - the overall three-dimensional shape of the artifact and aspects of that shape. These include measurable dimensions such as length, width, thickness, and weight. Technological Attributes - the characteristics of the raw materials used to make artifacts and any other traits that reflects the manufacturing process.

Page 117 in Textbook

Research Designs (Parts of Formulating)

You need a question, goals, and a plan

Where to begin, what to test, what to collect, what to analyze?

Research Questions


National Endowment for the Humanities

Previous Research

History, Geography, Geology, Archaeology, Ethnohistory

You need to know everything about the area before excavating


Government agencies

Political engagement

Social/community relations

Formulation involves defining the research problem, performing background investigations, and conducting feasibility studies. The research problem and goals may be influenced by a variety of factors - the archaeologist’s personal interests, local concerns, and in a CRM situation, a government contract. Page 79 in Textbook

The Research Team

Director - manages permits and paperwork

Field Director (crew chief) - manages day to day operations of excavations

Field Archaeologists - primary excavators for projects

Technical Experts - artifacts are rarely exported from excavation country so bringing experts to the site to analyze and make observations about the area and the artifacts. Potentially trained in specialized tool/technology usage required for excavation to proceed without issue

Students - grad/post-doctorate students who help field archaeologists with excavation Workers - people who help move dirt, pack etc

Other needs (cooks, medics,etc.)

Camp, Provisions, and Logistics


Political, Social, and Community Relations

Hiring Locals as workers to give the locals access to academic money



Judgemental - use prior knowledge to guide your choices


Systematic - choose a method that must be followed systematically

Simple Random - Random Selection

Stratified Random - Random Selection spread over more than one section of data

Adaptive - using the judgemental selection in conjunction with another method Lecture Notes 10/8 and Page 78-82 in Textbook

The exam cover material from 10/18 Lecture: Starting a Project through 11/8 Lecture: Stratigraphy as well as Chapters 4 and 5 from the Textbook.

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