ANT200Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Giovanni Battista Belzoni, Pecos Classification, Jacques Boucher De Crèvecœur De Perthes

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6 Nov 2012
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ANT200 Lecture 3
Test
o Archaeological method and archaeological theory
Intro, chapters 1 and 2
Study guide on portal
o Short answer
Seriation
o Arranged or occurring in one or more series
Arrange items in a sequences according to prescribed criteria
o Look at various styles and we can see where we are in time
o Chazan thinks doesn’t work
Except for these grave stones in Massachusetts
Design on top
o Death headwinged cherubswillow tree and urns
o More useful in past before newer dating process
Radiocarbon dating
o Carbon 14
o Cosmic radiationCarbon joins with oxygen atoms, making C14
o Carbon exchange reservoir
Constant ratio between C14 and other Carbon Isotopes
o Half life of Radiocarbon 5 730 years
From the point in time, when the organism is removed from the carbon exchange (ex:
death of cow) reservoir,
The concentration of carbon-14 begins to decay at the rate of 1% every 83 years,
Or 50% every 5 730 years
o CONTEXT
Radiocarbon dating only matters if we have stratigraphic information
Quantification: mni vs. mne
o In archaeology we are almost never working with a single object
Can be dealing with an enormous collection
o Minimum number of individuals (mni)
One of each element making a skeleton
Bones
=mni of 1
o Minimum number of elements
Multiple of the same element
Multiple rib bones
=mne of …
Synchronic vs. Diachronic
o Synchronic: one period of time
How do we interpret synchronic variability in artifacts?
How does synchronic variability in material culture relate to society?
o Diachronic: multiple periods of time
K-means clustering
o Taking information that’s been recorded
o Noting how they cluster
o Mississippi hand axe clusters
At the Grossmann axe-head cache showing K-mans clusters
Clusters clumped together
Why?
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o The commemorative events at Grossmann involved the disposal of
meaningful objects (that perhaps had been kept inside the temples)
o Commemorative events?
Act of memorializing
Putting something solidly in the ground
Not a disposal
Suggesting maybe it’s a part of the temples
o End of a ritual Cahokian action
What can we know about the archaeological past? What is our relation to the archaeological past?
o Archaeological theory
Draws from the Enlightment period
People had the audacious idea that people can know things by inquiry
o Diderot and D’Alambert
Two men both literary figures
Decided they would make a set of books that had all the information in the world
The Encyclopaedia
o Ancestor of the internet
Something missing at the heart of the Encyclopaedia project
o You can have tons of information, but you won’t know anything
o Need ideas and structures
Where are our questions? What is our agenda when it comes to the
past?
Mid 1700’s
Totality of knowledge
o Archaeology as Reverence
Nabonidus
Babylon 556 BC
“At that time Egipa, the holy precinct, wherein the rites of the high priestess used
to be carried out, was an abandoned place, and had become a heap of ruin….I cut
down the trees removed the rubble of its ruin, I set eyes on the temple and its
foundation terrace became visible” –Thutmose IV 1400 BC
We are not doing this out of reverence
Not for a god, etc.
o Superstition
Stone tools
Thought of as thunderstones and serpents tongues
Michele Mercati
Suggested that these objects are tools
o Why?
England was already coming into contact with tribes, etc. that use
the same idea as tools
Surprisingly late transition
o Renaissance Europe
Emblem book of Johannes Sambucus 1564
First description of artifacts
Triumphal arches and beautiful walled cities, the chiselled faces of antique medal, Bear
witness today to the greatness of spirits, Whose names have not yet been penned for
posterity
Amazing because not about honouring past or superstition
Bear witness: ideal only resurfaced in the 1900’s
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Document Summary

Test: archaeological method and archaeological theory. Study guide on portal: short answer. Seriation: arranged or occurring in one or more series. Arrange items in a sequences according to prescribed criteria: look at various styles and we can see where we are in time, chazan thinks doesn"t work. Except for these grave stones in massachusetts. Design on top: death head winged cherubs willow tree and urns, more useful in past before newer dating process. Radiocarbon dating: carbon 14, cosmic radiation carbon joins with oxygen atoms, making c14, carbon exchange reservoir. Constant ratio between c14 and other carbon isotopes: half life of radiocarbon 5 730 years. From the point in time, when the organism is removed from the carbon exchange (ex: death of cow) reservoir, The concentration of carbon-14 begins to decay at the rate of 1% every 83 years, Or 50% every 5 730 years: context. Radiocarbon dating only matters if we have stratigraphic information.

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