ANT200Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: National Heritage Sites Of South Africa, Homo Erectus, East African Rift

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22 Mar 2015
ANT200 – Lecture 1 – Monday, September 8th, 2014
One way Archaeology can be defined or looked at is as established facts.
There were two great shifts in Archaeology:
1. Archaeology has gotten much more scientific – it was found that it comes more from
Archaeology is the dynamic of past societies.
Archaeology is pulled into contemporary society.
Oldowan period – 1.9-1.15 MYA
Acheulian period – 1.7 million – 200,000 years ago
oLooks at the increase in size of the human skull; the brain in lineage.
Paleolithic period – 200,000-40,000 years ago
Origin of modern humans – 200,000-40,000 years ago
oOur origins are traced back to Africa.
During the second semester, we will look at the Origins of Agriculture.
Origins of villages; domesticated plants (for example, figs); changes in religious
Europe: We will look at the spread of agriculture from the Middle East to Europe.
Mesoamerica and North America: Maize; Ohio Mountains
North Africa, New Guinea, Andes, China: Contrasts and relationships; teaching the
origins of agriculture in China is challenging because they keep changing.
Development of Social Complexity:
oIraq in north Syria is the first place of social complexity.
oHow can you get monumentality when you do not have social hierarchy?
Mesopotamia, Egypt: The pyramids; how pyramids were built; how do you organize a
society/social complexity that can build a pyramid? Can you have civilization without a
Asia: Indus and China - Indus valley
Mesoamerica: Maya and Aztec – Iconography; housing architecture
Andes: Chavin, Moche, Inca – Machu Picchu: Who was buried there?
Ontario archaeology (last two lectures of class)
How the landscape looked like; how people lived on it.
Woodland period
Tuberculosis could have existed in North America before the Europeans arrived.
oThis is puzzling because tuberculosis is an Old World disease.
oTo test for tuberculosis they needed tissue from a mummified body; they cannot
use bones.
The genome of tuberculosis is rooted in the Old World.
It was found that it is similar to the genome in seals.
So tuberculosis could have been carried by seals from the Old World to the New.
ANT200 - Lecture 2 – Monday, September 15th, 2014
Franklin – British explorer; his ship got stuck in the Arctic.
He and his team probably died from lead poisoning.
Ultimately, Archeology is writing; translating archeological records into observations.
Archeological Ethics: Stewardship; accountability; commercialization; public education
and outreach; intellectual property; public reporting; records and preservation; training
and resources
When you put archeological finds into context that is when they have value.
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In an archeological survey, you could be walking across a piece of land day after day,
week after week, month after month, just looking at the ground and observing what is
Hunter-Gatherer Mobility:
oLogistical (Collectors)
Base Camp  Lithic Quarry
 Hunting Site
 Marsh
 Nut trees
What would we find on survey?
Tools would be dispersed over the specialized area.
Animal carcases
In the base camp, we would find high utility bones, generalized
tool kit, fire places, etc.
oResidential (Foragers)
Seasonal camp
Here we could find a mixture of high utility tools; depending on the
season, tools that would be used according to the season in which
that site was used; less permanent structures.
The Pub Effect: If you do not design your survey correctly, you will find biases because
your goal is not to find sites, but to find past adaptations at the landscape level.
Sampling strategy:
oMust be related to your goals.
oTotal coverage
oIterative (Bayesian)
Incorporate prior knowledge
What makes sites visible?
oDeposition – deposits sediments; ex. Burial sites
oErosion – carries sediments away.
oIf you do not understand these two, your survey may reflect geological processes
rather than how people used the land then.
Aerial photography was developed around World War I.
Uruk – oldest city in the world; about 4,000 years old; sits on what was once the
Euphrates River.
The way GIS (Geographic Information System) works is that if you have just a
topographic map of your site and you have at least three geo-spatial points with latitude
and longitude, you can keep adding layers to the map (ex. Adding rivers).
GIS is a software application that is invaluable for controlling spatial data on landscapes.
Magnetometry – study in which one looks for magnetic fields; part of the field of
Horizontal vs. Vertical Excavation
oExcavation and surveys have scale in common.
Law of superposition – In an undisturbed depositional sequence each layer is younger
than the layer beneath it.
oThe principle here is not how high I am in the pit, it is where in the depositional
sequence I am.
o*This will be on the exam*
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The rule of archaeological excavation is leave profiles behind.
Depositional units are the temporal chunks that build our archaeological site.
ANT200 – Lecture 3 – Monday, September 22nd, 2014
How much can we know about the past using these methods (of analyzing excavation
sites, such as stratigraphy)?
The first and most important thing an archaeologist must do after digging up a site is to
create an archaeological record.
Datum point - a point of reference for vertical measures on sites; set in meters above
sea level; this point has to stay fixed for the rest of the excavation.
Total stations are now used instead of dumpy levels to set datum points; total stations
use a laser, whereas with the dumpy levels, you would have to look straight through
them to set your datum point.
If you are trying to look at large scale architecture, you would use big units (4x4 or 5x5
meter squared units); if you want to look at small sites you can use small units (quarter
meter units).
Grid paper, pencil, folding ruler (much easier to hold straight than a tape measure) –
your essential archaeological toolkit.
In a site like Amarna, Egypt, you can find out about social relations, organization in
society, how people lived during that time, etc.
Tel – in the Middle East, this is an artificial mount; it consists of centuries after centuries
of buildup of sediment.
Ebla is an example of a site that is being excavated broadly, but also has a real time
Taphonomy – the science of what happens to things after they are discarded or no
longer in use; over time, soils are very dynamic.
One of the problems with stratigraphy is that sediments are alive in many ways, they go
through soil formations, so the biggest weakness that comes with archaeological
stratigraphy is to think of it as purely archaeological.
Quantification: MNI vs. NISP
oMNI – minimum number of individuals
oNISP – number of identifiable specimens
Kuran 9: Syria - 3,600-3,100 cal BC; only a very small area of this site was excavated.
oDomestic (animals – sheep, goat) - 0.6%
oEquid (wild horses) - 0.3%
oGazelle - 99.3%
oTotal NISP: 2,649
Material Culture – what archaeologists find on excavation sites.
oType fossil
Certain objects express the spirit of their age; this would allow you to map
the rise and fall of civilizations.
Typological systems – they break down the variation of material culture
into various types.
Where do you stop? Does it matter if the colour of the rubber covering a
USB cable is black or grey? These are some of the things archaeologists
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