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Lecture 3

What is Archaeology - week 3 lecture notes.docx

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ANTH 1010H
Jocelyn Williams

What is Archaeology? Four goals of archaeology: 1. To generate information about the past - How? Through discovery, description, and classification of sites and artifacts 2. To synthesize (put together) information - Why? To reconstruct culture histories and cultural chronologies 3. To develop explanations for what was observed 4. To develop an understanding of human behaviour - To understand both diversity and the common human experience How do Archaeologists Study the Past? - Similar to what cultural anthropologists are interested in: o Social, political, and economic organization - But also similar to what historians are interested in: o What happened? When? Why? - But we are limited to material remains Archaeological Record - Material remains of past human activities and behaviours - Artifacts, ecofacts, features, architecture o Physical remains of people and their tools, houses, foods o Any material lost, discarded, abandoned, and stashed by people - Sites o The geographic locations where these materials are found Sampling and Preservation - Archaeologists can only study what is found and what is preserved - Not every site ever formed will be discovered and studied - Not every artifact deposited will preserve to be discovered - Because of this, our view of the past is inherently biased Objects are important, but their real importance is what they can tell us about the past. - Cannot tell us about objects unless we know how the object relates to other things (context) o Other objects o Other sites o Time period Distribution of Sites and Artifacts - Economy o E.g. village on prime farmland, town on fj
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