Archaeology Lecture 1 - Data and Dating

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18 Apr 2012
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ANT100Y1: Archaeology Lecture One.
Archaeology Data and Dating
Archaeological Record
the matrices in which artificats, ecofacts, sites and other human-manufactured features
or results of past human action are found
not necessarily found below ground+ eg: 'cultural landscapes'
Chaco Phenomenon the extensive inter-regional exchange, 650 kms of roads,
stairways, ramps in NW NM ca. AD 1100 (in New Mexico) + trade exchange
activities existed within people who lived within this site of the world + one of
the cultural landscapes
Three Typical Elements of Archaeological Research
Observed material culture
+ past activities
Unobserved (past) human/non-human activity
Interpretation of (past) human activity
Material Evidence
Physical
+ artifacts+ features+ ecofacts
Spatial+ activity areas+ sites+ regions
Artifact:
any portable object whose form has been shaped (ie: manufactured or modified) by
way of human activity+ Egyptian art, pottery.
Feature:
non-portable material evidence of human activity (eg: hearths, storage pits, postholes)
+ ie: Kelly Site Excavation Plan+ Rock art → part of 'cultural landscape'
+ Pyramids, Giza
Ecofacts:
non-artifactual material evidence of human activity
can be further subdivided into Macrofossils and Microfossils
macrofossils
+ visible to the naked eye (ie: kernel of corn)
+ can be retrieved through flotation or normal excavation procedures
Flotation Device
Water separation of soil matrices
used primarily to recover macrofossils
lighter materials float to the surface, caught in sieves
Screen
Considerations: aperture size of mesh (tied to research design)
microfossils
+ eg: pollen, phytoliths found in soils or residues adhering to artifacts + visible only
under high-power magnification, 200x or greater
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