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Archaeology-How do we learn from the past Janury 10th 2010.doc

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Dax Urbszat

ANT 101H5S January 10 2011 Archaeology: How do we learn from the past? Archaeology Methods for Studying Material Culture-The study of material remains in order to describe and explain human behavior. 3 types of material remains • Environmental (ecofacts) stuff we use, our body ecofacts-not intentionally modified by human behaviour. Found through natural processes=pollen • Remains of human activity Human remains themselves (interntional/unintentional, use/resuse through behaviour. Widening Archaeological Applications (has changed a lot since WW 2) • New Dating Techniques o More accurate dating (has revolutionized) o nuclear isotopes o radio carbon dation, volcanic ash • “New Archaeology” o Redefining archaeological aims o what behaviour is associated with artifacts indepth examination of culture. • Cultural Resource Management o Protection of sites, rescue archaelogy, preserve archeological remains,artifacts Archaeological Analysis • you must recognize things as items used by humans; items that functioned within a cultural system • you must interpret how the items were used or how they functioned in a cultural system • you must integrate each symbol in its proper system and environment-relate symbols to each other ARTIFACT Any object modified by human beings-not intentional all the time, can be unintentional. • Express a facet of human culture • Context is important-context is everything !,function within culture. • Look at simple object ex:pot, context in which it was found, purpose, behaviour related to it, symbols of behaviour, function withing cultural framework. TYPOLOGY (Type) a categorization of artifacts to answer specific questions about a culture sort artifacts by type=questions being asked ? Size.shape etc ECOFACT Items that become associated with a site through natural processes , associated with site. FEATURE Things that cannot be taken back to a lab for analysis • they are part of the earth (not transportable,permanent component of archaeological site.) • Moving will alter or destroy them • posts ! SITE A spatially distinct place that exhibits evidence of human activity Characteristics • Fundamental unit of analysis for an archeologist • Primary unit of association for artifacts • Must be spatially distinct • May be occupied over a period of time • A site or ensemble of related sites represents the material remains of a single cultural system called a COMMUNITY-number of related sites huge ? Small ? Assemblage-all artifacts found in 1 site. Component-each distinct occupation of 1 site, digging down earth, find stuff. Layers of stuff. How Do Archaeologists find a Site? Survey • Disturbance by human activity - artifacts, ploughed field. • Disturbance by natural causes – natural erosion, exposing old soils and occupations. • Vegetation-grow in disturbed areas, poison ivy grow in disturbed areas-used in forensic cases ! • Ethnohistorical datamuseum data, coordinates • Amateur archaeologists or farmers-from local populations(farmers) SYSTEMATIC SURVEY • Walk over an area in regular intervals – record a
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