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Week 4 Notes

by: Kelli Notetaker

Week 4 Notes XANTHRO 2AC

Kelli Notetaker

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Here are the class notes for this week
Introduction to Archaeology
Kent G Lightfoot
Class Notes
Intro to Archaeology
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kelli Notetaker on Sunday September 18, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to XANTHRO 2AC at University of California Berkeley taught by Kent G Lightfoot in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views.

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Date Created: 09/18/16
Anthro 2AC 9/12/2016 Read:  Ashmore and Sharer 2014, pp 60­65; Hyder and Lee 2015 III.CHALLENGES STUDYING ARCH. MATERIAL  1.  Differential Preservation of Material Remains E. Best Contexts for Preservation   i. Stable Anaerobic Conditions   Underwater Sites in Anaerobic Conditions; Cold Water and/or Buried; Examples: Mary Rose (King henry the 8  war ship that sunk. Lost 300 sailors in the sinking.  Excavation in 1892. There is 22,000 different artifacts), La Belle (off the coast of Texas. Robert  De La Salle. Summer of 1995 was found. Excavation in a dame. Contents were well preserved.  Over 1 million different artifacts) ­ deep cold water.             ii. Freezing Conditions (Ice Man from Italian Alps 5000 year person aka Otzi)­ inhibit the growth of bacteria.  iii. Arid Conditions – Rockshelters, Caves, Mesa Verde National Park­ hot dry  environments with little precipitation.  F.  Unexpected Contexts; Example from Garbage Project; William Rathje’s Landfill  Excavations; Volume of plastics in landfills? Findings in1980s before recycling: Small % by Volume of Fast Food Refuse, Plastics, Diapers (inorganic materials) ; What Find –  Mostly Organic Materials: paper, lumber, food waste (hot dogs), yard refuse; Find that  Landfills Mummify Materials: Rapid Deposition, Stable Environment, Keep Dry –  Produces Anaerobic Conditions; Need to facilitate biodegradation; Recommendations for Future Land Fills; ­ out of the 14 tons of garbage analyzed few  than 100 pounds were fast food wrappers. Stereo foam was 1% and plastic bottles were 1% by  volume. The majority of the volume includes newspapers, all paper products were well over  40%, and grass clippings were 7%. Mass amount of materials are organic materials. Found that  landfills facilitate preservation. Biodegradation: decomposition of organic materials by exposing  it to water and air. Landfills are producing anaerobic environment.  G.  Average Preservation (More Typical Situation)    i.  Open Air Sites, hot/cold, wet/dry, acidic soils; ­ what conditions are more typical for  archaeologists. Low pH soils. Some of the material archaeologists did not enter the  archaeological record and if they did then it may have been changed ii. We Typically Work with Skewed or Biased Sample of Past Material Culture; Some  Materials May Be in Transformed or Altered State – only able to recover a partial picture.  iii. Think about VLSB 2050, if we Had to Leave Materials Behind; What would be here  30­40 years Later? – Inorganic (glass) would still be here. Food and some things we use on the  daily would not be.    iv. Decomposition of Old Cars they rust away; Roads they decompose and vegetation  starts to grow through them; Entire Towns; Fort Ross: Native Alaskan Village Site brought down by Russians to hut sea mammals. The site disappeared over 150 years. But many organic  materials found. What’s on the surface might not be actually there.  H.  Archaeological Data    i. Artifacts (lithics, ceramics [sherds], metal,  glass, worked bone);   ii. Ecofacts (floral [seeds, nuts], faunal remains);   iii. Middens (Shell Middens);   iv. Features (pits, burials, house structures,  post­mold);     v. Sites (Various Kinds – Hyder and Lee 2015 Rock Art Site, Pictographs, Petroglyphs);    vi. Regions or Cultural Landscapes; Anthro 2AC 9/14/2016 Read:  Jones 2015; Stewart 2002 III.CHALLENGES STUDYING ARCH. MATERIAL  Usually archaeologists don’t find much. It is often skewed. Materials may be in an altered state.  Organic may be just a chemical residue.  1.  Differential Preservation of Material Remains H.  Archaeological Data    i. Artifacts (lithics arrow projection points, ceramics [sherds], metal, glass nails and  tacks, worked bone made out of organic materials);­ discret and portable object that is  created and modified by human activity. The most common artifact is a stone tool. They  are found throughout the world. Debitage is the result of working with the work bone and is found in stone tools. MANUFACTURED INTO SOMETHING. ii. Ecofacts (floral [seeds, nuts], faunal remains animal bones);­ none artifactual natural  remains that have cultural evidence. Most common is food. For example, abalone shells,  sea mammal bones. Is it a worked bone artifact or ecofact? iii. Middens (Shell Middens);­ accumulation of debris often resulting of human disposal  of broken things or garbage or food waste. Shell middens result of the calcium carbonate  and it preserves it well.  iv. Features (pits, burials, house structures, post­mold); ­ non portable human made  remains that cannot be removed place of discovery without altering or destroying original form. Ex) pits used for eating or cleaning, house structures, burials, posts decomposed  but left a stain v. Sites (Various Kinds of Sites– often Defined by their function special clusters of  artifacts, ecofacts, and features.; Example: Hyder and Lee 2015; Rock Art Sites in  Chumash Territory; Pictographs paintings on rocks using organic and mineral paints and  they tend to be red, black, white in color; Petroglyphs rock carvings ; Cupule Rocks  vi. Regions or Cultural Landscapes spcial distribution and sites and isolated artifacts,  ecofacts and features across a landscape; Jones 2015; Example of Regional Synthesis in Archaeology, from Central Coast of CA; Historical Anthropology; Create Chronological Timeline – Focus on Key Artifacts and Ecofacts from Sites – Jones uses multiply lines of evidence in his regional  synthesis. He uses ethno history, ethnography with local central Californians. Uses  historical anthropology. He examines various types of features, artifacts, and ecofacts on  sites and places them on a timeline. He dated each site. Puts together a whole synthesis of what was happening in the central coast over time.  2. Recovery of Archaeological Data A.  Recognition of Archaeological Data­ we only recover materials we perceive important pieces of the past. Has changed dramatically over time. Technological breakthroughs help the studying  of these materials.      i.  A.V. Kidder ancestral people in Arizona. Tree Beams they didn’t think there was  useful info in leaves and burned them. Today we see them as one of the most important archives  of the past environment, Dendrochronology­ dating based on rings of a tree trunk      ii. Recovery of Ecofacts: Faunal Analysis=  Zooarchaeology study faunal remains from sites; Floral Remains, Flotation  collecting samples from pits and put in water to recover organic materials,  Light and Heavy Fractions seeds and nutes, Recover Charred Plant Remains; Rise of Paleoethnobotany study of plants used by past people      iii. Phytoliths from plants (Silica Bodies are Microscopic, Measure in Microns) B.  Sampling Issues     i. Ethical Reasons for Sampling; Preservation of Sites, Excavation is Destructive!; Limit Excavation to Protect Sites for Future ii. Prohibitive Costs of Study – Cannot  Excavate Entire Sites, Finite Budgets To undertake Archaeological Field and Lab Work C. Summary Point: Archaeologists only study small sample of sample of materials used by  past peoples 3.  Complex Formation of Archaeological Sites  A.  Behavioral Processes (acquisition, manufacture, use, deposition); Differential Deposition: Fort Ross sea otter bones; Magazines in Landfills B.  Transformational Processes (Post­Depositional)   


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