Chapter 4 Outline: Doing Archaeology and Biology - Kottak Introduction to Anthropology
Chapter 4 Outline: Doing Archaeology and Biology - Kottak Introduction to Anthropology SOCA 105
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Introduction to Anthropology Notes 9/3/2015 Chapter 4: Doing Archaeology and Biological Anthropology This chapter is about what anthropologists do, focusing on archaeology and biological anthropology… RESEARCH METHODS IN ARCHAEOLOGY AND BIOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY Archaeologists tend to study material culture; biological anthropologists tend to study biological remains… Anthropological Archeology reconstructs human behavior, social patterns, and cultural features through analysis of material remains (and written records if available) Biological Anthropologists study living and recent humans (genetics, growth, development, and physiological adaptation) and primates (their behavior and social organization) as well as deceased and ancient ones Paleoanthropologists study human evolution through skeletal material and related material remains, such as biological traces (pollens, animal bones) o Multidisciplinary Approaches Paleontology – study of ancient life through the fossil record The fossil record is not a representative sample of all the plants and animals that have ever lived. Hard parts, such as bone and teeth, preserve better than soft parts, such as flesh and skin… Typically collaborate with archaeologists and biological anthropologists in the study of ancient sites Palynology, the study of ancient plants through pollen samples, can be used to determine a site’s environment at the time of occupation Bioarchaeologists may form a picture of ancient life at a particular site by examining human skeletons to reconstruct their physical traits, health status, and diet… o Difference in chemical composition of groups of bones at a site may distinguish privileged nobles from peasants To reconstruct ancient human biological and cultural features, anthropologists analyze material remains, including bones, teeth, and artifacts. Visible remains found at archaeological sites include animal and human bones, charcoal from ancient fires, remains in burials and storage pits, and worked stone and bone Archaeologists today use microscopic evidence, such as fossil pollen, phytoliths (plant crystals), and starch grains… After, they are collected, they are sent to a lab to be examined for microscopic traces of plant starch grains, phytoliths, and fossil pollen… o These artifacts can offer clues about ancient lifeways especially diets and food preparation patterns… o Phytoliths are inorganic and don’t decay so they can reveal which plants were present at a given site Introduction to Anthropology Notes 9/3/2015 o Multidisciplinary Approaches CONTINUED…. Anthropologists also work w/ geologists, geographers, and other scientists in using satellite images to find ancient footpaths, roads, canal, and irrigation systems… Aerial photos & satellite images are forms of remote sensing used in site location… o Remote Sensing – use of aerial photos and satellite images to locate sites on the ground Anthropologists and other scientists can use this to discover and understand events of the ore recent past… Ex. Satellite images reveal patterns and sites of flooding and deforestation… o By comparing a time series of satellite images of forest cover, scientists can identify regions where deforestation has been especially severe o Studying the Past Archaeologists & biological anthropologists share interests and techniques that enable them to reconstruct the human past Paleoanthropologists continue to compile the fossil record of human evolution o Fossils – remains, traces, or impressions of ancient life forms o Paleontologists help locate fossil beds containing remains of animals that can be dated and that are known to have coexisted with hominins @ various time periods o Survey and Excavation Archaeologists typically work in teams and across time and space adopting both local and regional perspectives The most common local approach is to excavate through layers in a site… Regional approaches include remote sensing o Ex. the discovery of ancient Costa Rican footpaths from space Systematic Survey - provides a regional perspective by gathering information on settlement patterns over a large area Systematic Survey – study of settlement patterns over a large area Settlement pattern refers to how the distribution of sites w/n a region – how people grouped themselves and interacted spatially… o Archaeologists use this to make population estimates and to assess levels of social complexity With increasing social complexity, the settlements patterns become more elaborate and population levels rise! In complex societies, a settlement hierarchy of sites emerges. Introduction to Anthropology Notes 9/3/2015 Ideally, a systematic survey involves walking over the entire survey area and recording the location and size of all sites... Excavation - Scientists dig through the layers of deposits that make up a site Excavation – digging through layers at a site o These layers of strata are used to establish the time order of materials This relative chronology is based on the principle of superposition Because it is so expensive, people normally only dig if they are endangered sites, or b/c they answer specific research questions o Cultural Resource Management (CRM) focuses on managing the preservation of archaeological sites that are threatened my modern development Before a site is excavated, it is surface collected and mapped, so that researchers can make an informed decision about where exactly to dig There’s two types of excavation methods??? o Digging at an arbitrary level… Starting at the surface & consistent amounts of soil are removed Quicker way of digging since everything @ a certain depth is removed Usually used to determine how deep the deposits of a site go & to establish a rough chronology for that site o Digging through the stratigraphy one layer @ a time… The strata, which are separated by different colors and texture, are studied one by one… More detailed method b/c each house floor is looked @ separately The procedure here is for archaeologists to remove & bag all the artifacts from each house floor before proceeding to the level below that one… Soil samples are sorted using water and a series of very fine meshes to recover even very small remains, this is called flotation… KINDS OF ARCHAOELOGY o Experimental Archaeologists try to replicate ancient techniques & processes under controlled conditions o Historical Archaeologists use written records as guides & supplements to archaeological research They work w/ remains more recent – often much more recent than the advent of writing o Colonial Archaeologists are historical archaeologists who use written records as guides to locate and excavate postcontact sites in North & South America, and to verify or question the written accounts…. o Classical Archaeologists usually are affiliated w/ university departments of classics or the history of art Often are more interested in styles of architecture and sculpture than social, economic, and political features that typically interested anthropological archaeologists o Underwater Archaeology is a growing field that investigates submerged ships, most often shipwrecks… Divers also do underwater survey and excavation… Introduction to Anthropology Notes 9/3/2015 o Cultural Resource Management is also a type of applied anthropology in which archaeological techniques are used to assess sites that are threatened by development, public works, and road building DATING THE PAST o Taphonomy - the study of the processes that affect the remains of dead animals Such processes include scattering b carnivores and scavengers, distortion by various forces, and the possible fossilization of the remains… o Paleoanthropology – the study of ancient humans and their immediate ancestors Scientists use several techniques to date fossils. These methods offer different degrees of precision and are applicable to different periods of the past. o Relative Dating Chronology is established by assigning dates to geographical layers (strata) and to the material remains – the fossils and artifacts – w/n them… Relative Dating - establishes a time frame in relation to other strata or materials Many dating methods are based on the geological study of stratigraphy Stratigraphy – study of the earth sediments deposited in demarcated layers (strata) o In an undisturbed sequence of strata, age increases w/ depth o When fossils are found w/n a stratigraphic sequence, scientists know their dates relative to fossils in other strata; this is relative dating! o When fossils are found in a particular stratum, the associated geological features and remains of particular plants and animals offer clues about the climate @ the time of deposition… o Absolute Dating: Radiometric Techniques Absolute Dating – establishing dates in numbers or ranges of numbers Ex. the carbon-14 technique is used to date organic remains o This is a radiometric technique b/c it measures radioactive decay Introduction to Anthropology Notes 9/3/2015 Note that absolute dating may give ranges of numbers than exact dates… Two other radiometric techniques are especially useful for fossils that can’t be dated the other way: Thermuluminescence (TL) Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) o BOTH measure the electrons that are constantly being trapped in rocks and minerals o Once a date is obtained for a rock found associated w/ a fossil, that date also can be applied to that fossil o Absolute Dating: Dendrochronology Dendrochronology – three-ring dating; a form of absolute dating B/c trees grow by adding one ring every year, counting the rings reveals the age of a tree Limited to certain tree species – those growing in a climate w/ marked seasons… o These trees come from the same region, thus have been exposed to the same environmental patterns Crossdating is the process of matching ring patterns among trees and assigning rings to specific calendar years Both visual and statistical techniques are used to make the matches Tree rings not only permit absolute dating, but they also provide info about climatic patterns in specific regions o Molecular Anthropology Molecular Anthropology – DNA comparisons used to determine evolutionary links and distances Molecular studies have been used to assess and date the origins of modern humans and to examine their relation to extinct hominin groups Molecular Anthropologists examine relationships among ancient and contemporary populations and among species… They also reconstruct waves and patterns of migration and settlement A haplogroup is a biological lineage (a large group of related people) defined by a specific cluster of genetic traits that occur together Molecular Anthropologists also use “genetic clocks” to estimate divergence time (date of most recent common ancestry) among species (ex. humans, chips, and gorillas – 6-10 million years ago) and of various human groups (ex. Neanderthals and modern humans) Introduction to Anthropology Notes 9/3/2015 KINGS OF BIOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY o Bone Biology (Skeletal Biology) Bone Biology – the study of bone as a biological tissues Including its genetics, cell structure, growth, development, decay, and patterns of movement Bone biologists study skeletal characteristics of living and deceased humans and hominins Paleopathology – study of disease and injury in skeletons from archaeological sites Ex. some forms of cancer leave evidence in the bone leaving holes or lesions o Anthropometry Biological Anthropologists use various techniques to study nutrition, growth, and development Anthropometry – the measurement of human body parts and dimensions, including skeletal parts o Done on living people as well as on skeletal remains from sites o Body mass and composition provide measures of nutritional status in living people o Primatology Considered a subfield of biological anthropology Primate studies are useful to paleoanthropologists who are attempting to understand the behavior and social life of ancient hominins Primatology also links w/ sociocultural anthropology (especially ethnography) through its focus on behavior and social life Studies of primate social systems and behavior, including their mating patterns, infant care, and patterns of contact and dispersal, suggest hypotheses about behavior of humans do or do not share w/ our nearest relatives – as well as w/ our hominin ancestors DOING ANTHROPOLOGY RIGHT AND WRONG: ETHICAL ISSUES o Contemporary Anthropologists recognize that informed consent (agreement to take part in the research – after having been informed about its nature, procedures, and possible impacts) should be obtained from anyone who provides info or who might be affected by the research… Informed Consent is needed from anyone providing date or info, owning materials being studied, or otherwise having an interest that might be affected by the research!! o They must also take steps to ensure that their research doesn’t endanger the animals the study Introduction to Anthropology Notes 9/3/2015 o The Code of Ethics The most recent code, approved in 2012, points out that anthropologists have obligations to their scholarly field, to the wider society and culture, and to the human species, other species, and the environment The anthropologists first concern should be to never harm the people, the animals, or artifacts being studied The stated aim of the AAA is to offer guidelines and promote discussion and education, rather than to investigate possible misconduct… All parties involved in the anthropologists research should be aware of the nature, procedures, purpose(s), potential impacts, and source(s) of support for the research