Week 2 Anthropology
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Archaeology - branch of anthropology focusing on the human cultural past
– Study of people through analysis of what they left behind
– This is the only way we can learn directly about people in the past especially those who
lived before the invention of written
–Paleoanthropologists – deal with the skeletal remains of people
○Interested in how and why human biology changed over the more than 6 million
years we and our upright walking ancestors have been around
Goals of the study of the past
1. Where did people live?
2. What materials did they leave behind?
3. When was an area occupied, and when did certain human activities occur?
4. How did people in a given region or time period live?
5. Who were the people, biologically?
6. Why did they live the life they did, and what rules or processes did they use to adjust
their ways of life to respond to changes in their surroundings?
Sites – a place that contains evidence of a past human presence
Artefact – any object made by humans
Feature – a non-portable element of a site, composed of artefacts for example, a grave or
Process of finding sites
1. Reference to previous research conducted in an area
2. Examination of local history for stories of discoveries made by inhabitants
3. Contacting local collectors of artefacts
Field survey – the process of discovering archaeological sites
Remote sensing – non-invasive examination of sites where no soil is removed
Electrical resistivity survey – a non-invasive procedure used in archaeological prospecting in
which an electrical current is passed through the ground. Variations in resistance to the current
may signal the location of archaeological artefacts or features
Proton magnetometry – a non-invasive technique used in archaeological prospecting in which a
proton magnetometer measures the strength of the earth’s magnetic field at the surface.
Variations in that magnetic field may signal the location of buried remains, including walls and
Ground penetrating radar (GPR) – a non-invasive technique used in archaeological
prospecting in which an electromagnetic pulse is passed through the soil. Variations in the pulse
as it reflects off buried objects may signal the location of archaeological remains, for example,
walls or foundations
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