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Archaeology Notes Week 2

by: Joseph Notetaker

Archaeology Notes Week 2 ANT 240

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About this Document

These notes cover the history of archaeology and offer a brief description of theory and methods.
Introduction to Archaeology
Dr. F. Scott Worman
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Joseph Notetaker on Monday May 16, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ANT 240 at Missouri State University taught by Dr. F. Scott Worman in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 22 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Archaeology in Anthropology at Missouri State University.


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Date Created: 05/16/16
Archaeology Notes Week 2 More history and some theory o American archaeology used the four fields of anthropology  Scientific study of Indians o In Europe people studied their own history, classics, humanities (more recent), or geology  Humanistic Study of their own ancestors  Or Scientific Study of distant past and human evolution Culture History o 1880’s- Adolf Bandelier  Develops “Direct trace historical trace to living groups method”  Combines ethno-history and archaeology, maps large ruins o 1911- Gustaf Kossima  Defines “archeological culture in the origin of the Germani  Set of co-occuring artifacts of traits used by a people  Trace an ethnic group further back in time and across space o V Gordon Childe  Numerous Books traced the movement of cultures across prehistoric europe  Later synthesized work by applying Marxist ideas; Neolithic Revolution and “Urban Revolutuion”  Rejected Hitler’s use of Archeaology to support the idea of an Aryan “Master Race” Culture History- Methods o 1890’s- Seriation invented: Puts assemblages of tombs into chronological order o Early 1900’s- Brevil (re)-invented stratigraphic excavation to identify and differentiate Paleolithic cultures o 1914- Nelson started excavating in the Galisteo Basin. Used arbitrary stratigraphic levels and recorded changes in frequencies of artifact types A V Kidder o Started excavating at Pecos (1915)  Excacated in natural stratigraphic layers  Developed ceramic seriation for Pecos  Worked with Specialists o Developed the first culture historical sequence for any region of the United States (1927) The Interwar Years o Big Expeditions o Gertrude Caton-Thompson  Starts excavating houses, graves of non-elites o Kathleen Kenyon (1906-1978)  Excavation at sites in Palestine Jericho in 1950’s  Pioneer in Biblical Archaeology o The Depression  Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) used archeology to create jobs  Large excavations, especially mound sites  Some of the accounts are only now being published st th 1 ½ of the 20 century o Culture History o Answering, Who?, Where?, When? o Difficulty explaining culture change o Basic Dating: stratigraphy, seriation, texts o Specialists o Materials Science o New developments: Study non-elites; reconstruct ecology, economy, and lifestyle Functionalism o The “organic analogy” o Goal of explanation over description o Culture exists (functions) to meet the needs of the individual and society o Implications for archeology o Study how people meet their needs o Analyze function of artifacts o Systemic view: can infer one part of culture system (behavior) by studying another part (material culture) Walter Taylor o Asttudy of Archeology (1948) o 1 major critique of culture history o Describes artifacts, not past life and culture  Focus on big sites, flashy artifacts o Is not explanatory or scientific o Use functionalist interpretation Applications o Excavations at Star Car o Well preserved Mesolithic site o Multidisciplinary focus on artifact function reconstructions, ecology, economy, lifestyle o The River of Culture o Late archaic site o Conjunctive approach-including early domestication 1950’s-1960’s o Modern dating methods (look for sites) o National Science Foundation (NSF) and others invested heavily into education o Big projects, Big questions o Fear that culture history had all been written Lewis Binford o Self-proclaimed “savior” of archeology o Created “New Archeology” o “Archeology as anthropology” (1962) o Now usually called processual archaeology o Prolific Writer o PhD at University of Michigan, taught at University of Chicago, UCLA, UNM, SMU, Truman State University o Basic Premise: Culture is how people adapt to their environment o Culture is adaptive (functional) o Every Aspect of the human past is reflected in the archaeological record o Everything about the human past is knowable o If you couldn’t know it is isn’t science o Science is morally good, and anything done in the name of science is morally good o Goal of New Archeology was to make archaeology a SCIENCE: o Hypothesis, deduce, and repeat method of traditional science o Archaeology as Anthropology  Study the people, not their pots o Explanation of the past  Laws of behavior and cultural processes  Not easy to apply to humans o Explicit construction and discussion of archeological theory (mid and high level) o Rejection of culture history  This is something modern archeology tries to keep Methods of New Archeology: o Hypothesis testing o Sampling Strategies  Study a piece of the site in order to understand it better o Scientific study of archeological materials  Materials science, experimental reproductions o Quantification and pattern recognition  Statistics are helpful in this area o Ethnoarchaeology/middle range theory  Apply modern observations in order to understand how people lived Natural Historic Preservation Act o Section 106: requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties  Understand the effects of activities on archeological sites through evaluation. o Section 110: requires that federal agencies preserve and manage historic properties located on land they manage  Historical artifacts must be protected o Changed Archeology  Before 1966 archeology was almost entirely academic  Few professionals working in universities and museums  Little money available  Today and estimated 10,000-20,000 archeologists are active  90% in some aspect of resource management  $Half billion a year total, less than $25 million academic o Cultural Resource Management  Started with a processual emphasis  Timing of NHPA  Clear methods  Answerable questions  Processual emphasis still dominant  Mostly for the same reasons Ian Hodder o Creator of Post processual archaeology o Started with computer modeling, became dissatisfied with the processual approach o Basic Premise: “The archeological record is meaningfully constituted.”  Culture is more than adaptation; the material record reflects religion, ideology, gender, power relationships. Etc. o Assumes that:  Culture is created by meaningful actions of individuals and these actions create the record  Can’t understand the record without context  Multiple interpretations are possible  Statements about the past are politically charged and have relevant value in the modern world o Goals include:  Incorporate individual into culture and history  Reject scientism (the idea that science is an absolute good), incorporate multivocality (multiple explanations possible)  Confront the political nature of archaeology  Communicate better with the public o Methods  Hermeneutics  Study of texts in order to interpret their meaning  Study documents within historical context  Critical theory (examine your own biases and the political implications of your work) Processual archeology o Focus: adaptation, subsistence, economy o Culture is: an adaptive system (functional) o Change is: due to changes in external conditions o Contributions  Explicit reasoning  Sampling strategies and statistics  Scientific methods and comparability of data o Criticisms  Scientistic  Ignores history, individual, cultural context  Boring questions  Laws of human behavior??? Post processual archeology o Focus: meaning, ideology, historical interpretation o Culture is: a complex set of meanings and actions  More like normative, but incorporates others o Change is: due to people manipulating their social worlds, internal contradictions, or external conditions o Contributions:  More nuanced understanding of culture  More interesting questions  Critical theory; the political nature of archaeology o Criticisms  Relativistic, anti-science, “storytelling” Common Ground: o Scientific field and lab methods o Explicit reasoning o Iterative comparison of ideas to material record to refine ideas o Complimentary approaches; each is useful for different sites and questions Syntheses: o Cognitive archaeology  Structured reconstruction of ideational systems  “How they thought, if not what they thought” o “Processual or historical processualism”  Incorporate post-processual questions, scientific methods, multiple lines of evidence, explicit reasoning/hypothesis testing o Re-emphasizing problem-oriented fieldwork  Use whatever set of theory is relevant to question Christine VanPool and the “Smoking Pots” o Ramos Polychrome vessels depict smoking o Identified repeated symbols o Analyzed visual context and associations of symbols  Repeatedly associated with anthropomorphs and supernatural beings  Shows the stages of the shamanic journey: trance, journey, and return o Studied ethnographic literature on shamanism o Stages of the shamanic journey: trance; transformation and travel to supernatural realm; return with special knowledge and power o Paquime religion: shaman-priests, water rituals o Influential over a large region  Also connected by trade and interaction. o Consistent with other evidence- the House of the Walk-In Well, distribution of R. P. vessels, long distance trade in ritually important goods, physical anthropology and mortuary analyses. o Processual: cross-cultural similarities, statistical analyses, trade and economy o Post processual: meanings of symbols within a particular historical context, religion, iconography, ideology, and how they affected Paquime o Multiple lines of evidence support conclusions Historical Overview: o Culture History: Normative culture, developed basic methods, asked “who, where, when?’ o Processual: functional culture, scientific methods and statistics, asked about adaptation  Influential in US CRM archaeology o Post Processual: meaningful culture, critical theory, hermeneutics, asked about context and history  Mostly influential in academia, at least initially o Today: Historical Processualism  Incorporate post-pro questions and scientific methods


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