Archaeology Lecture 2 - Excavation

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18 Apr 2012
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ANT100Y1: Archaeology.
Excavation
Law of Superposition
Sediments are deposited on top of preexisting sediments.
Dating Techniques
Stratgraphy is a relative dating method.
Levels and by extension, the artifacts, ecofacts and features contained in them can
be order through time based on stratigraphic position.
There are other methods known as absolute dating methods.
Dendrochronology
Radiocarbon dating
Potassium Argo Dating
Thermoluminescene Dating.
Dendrochronology
Three ring dating of preserved wood.
Chronologies based on overlapping ring sequences.
Limitations Cannot be used in tropical regions and confined to certain tree species.
Radiocarbon Dating
Radioactive isotope or ‘variety’ of carbon, which forms in the atmosphere.
Absorbed by plants during photosynthesis.
Absorbed by animals when they eat plants.
After death, Celsius decays at a rate known- it’s ‘half life’ 5730+/-40years.
Libby’s calculations were based on a ‘curve of knowns’
Compared Egyptian tree-ring and historical data to radiocarbon samples.
Analysis and Interpretation.
(Re)construction
“careful analysis of the environment in which materials are found in order to say
something about the circumstances by which that material came to be here” – Paul
Bahn
Circumstances: natural and human agencies.
Data Processing.
Cleaning
Conservation (May or may not be necessary, depends on the artifact class)
Cataloguing
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