Intro to Archaeology Notes- Week 4
Intro to Archaeology Notes- Week 4 ANT 112
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by emilyecclestone on Tuesday February 16, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ANT 112 at Wake Forest University taught by Dr. Verity Whalen in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 14 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
Week 4 Approaching Archaeology 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 • Principle 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, must take a closer look at the stratigraphy • Principle of Association § The relationship between an artifact and its surroundings Types of Excavation • Horizontal Excavation o Exposing a broad area of a site to reconstruct a particular moment in time • i.e. Pompeii • Vertical Excavation o Exposing the record sequence of events through small but deep___ Week 4 • Working in Squares o Grid systems vs excavating within buildings • Grid squares § Easy to work with squares § Can easily add more units § Gives control of what you are excavating • Household Excavation o Using the actual wall of the building to be the unit you are excavating Recovering Artifacts • Dry Screening • Water Screening o Use water to flush sediment through a metal screen • Flotation o By placing materials in water--> most artifacts will float to the top Why Dig? • Digging is destructive--> you can’t un-dig • "STOP, think, survey, discuss, argue, inform…THEN DIG" • Only excavate when… o Necessary for research goal o All other avenues have been exhausted Preservation & Archaeological Interpretation Archaeological Record is incomplete • Didn’t make it into the record because it did preserve What evidence is there? • Garbage and debris left behind • Tombs--> intentional purpose for it • When people move they take everything with them o Therefore what is left behind was garbage, not important, not valuable • EXCEPT for rapid abandonment o i.e. Pompeii--> volcanic explosion--> natural disaster 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 w ood • Non-perishable o Stone, ceramic, metal What impacts how sites form? • Archaeological sites= palimpsests o Don’t represent things exactly how they were Week 4 • Product of human activity behavior • Product of natural factors o Flora and fauna content, geographical sur rounding/location, geological • Post-abandonment--> process of transformation o Nature takes over--> Grass grows over, wind erosion, water erosion Archaeological sites never stop transforming • Environment & Preservation Certain environments lessen decomposition= good preservation • o Desert environment provides good preservation o Ice is another good kind of preservation o Nothing preserves in a jungle • Soil is too rich • Even pottery decays/breaks up Preservation & Interpretati on • What is left behind and preserved impacts interpretation o i.e. domestic vs ritual space • Reconstructing Past Behavior o Going from static facts to dynamic human behavior o Going through one's "garbage"
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