Archaeology Data and Dating

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Archaeological, Lecture 1
October 28, 2010
1
Archaeological Data and Dating
Professor Watts
Archaeological Record
x The matrices in which artifacts, ecofacts, sites and other human-manufactured features
or results of past human action are found. The stuff in which way things are found.
Three Typical Elements of Archaeological Research
x Observed material culture
x Unobserved human/non-human activity
x Interpretation/explanation of human activity.
o Research is rHODWHGWRQDWXUDOVFLHQFH([SODLQLQJWKHSDVWDUFKDHRORJ\GRHVQ¶W
mean anything unless it has a explainable power.
Material Evidence
Physical
Spatial
x Artifacts
x Features
x Ecofacts
x Activity areas
x Sites
x Regions
Artifact
x Any portable object whose form has been shaped (i.e., manufactured of modified) by
way of human activity.
o E.g., Acheulian Hand Axe, Ceramic Vessel, Funerary mask of Tutakhamun.
Feature
x Nonportable material evidence of human activity (i.e., hearths, storage pits, postholes.)
Not something you can shape, it is always embedded in that matrix. Must be excavated,
usually tethered to the area.
o E.g., Kelly Site Excavation Plan, Rock Art, Pyramids in Giza.
Ecofacts
x Non-artifactual material evidence of human activity
x Can be further subdivided in Macrofossils and Microfossils
o E.g., diets, types of trees.
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