Lecture 3.pdf

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16 Apr 2012
School
Department
Course
Archaeological Methods 11-09-19 9:03 AM
Methods of Studying the Past
Where: Survey & Sampling
Where did people live in the past?
Archaeological sites; Where people lived and carried out activities
Artifacts; objects made my people
Ecofacts; ecological debris i.e. animal bones
Features; non portable remains i.e. graves or walls
Survey
Morphological features; sources of water, clay, iron ore, firewood etc
Local & oral histories; Troy/Heinrich Shleimann
Field survey; surface walking subsurface investigations
o Electrical resistivity survey
o Proton magnetometry
o Ground penetrating radar
Sampling
Lab Analysis; inform us on where and where not to look
What: Archaeological Recovery
What Materials did they leave behind?
Careful excavation
o Spatial contexts/associations
o Provenience
Assemblage
Sieved
Sorted; take out dirt, sent to lab
When: Relative & Absolute Dating
When did human activities occur?
Relative dating methods
o Stratigraphy & Law of superposition
! Top = most recent
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! Middle = older
! Bottom = much older
Dates in Distant past
Before present (BP)
Years ago (YA)
Thousand years ago (KYA)
Millions of years ago (MYA)
Most dates are averaged,
Seriation
As styles go out of fashion, new styles appear to replace them
Measuring change through time due to changes in technology, raw
materials or styles of artifacts
Self – Dated Objects
Objects that actually have dates on them
o Tombstones, letters, coins
Objects which reflect events of known date
o I.e. souvenirs
! Can’t date from earlier period than assigned date
! Many date from a later period
! Restricted to the last 2000 years or less
Cross dating
Sites or strata with similar fossils artifact styles or technologies are
similar in age
Dendochronology
o Trees grow outward by adding a layer of wood around its trunks,
when cut, can tell how old a tree is
Radiocarbon Dating
All forms of life contain carbon
o Same with food & organisms
o Living organisms constantly replenish 14C atoms through the food
chain
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