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Anthro Nov.docx

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Ivan Kalmar

Oct 28 Tools and Techniques - Archaeology usually deals with history prior to writing (5000 years ago) o Historical archaeology deals with recent history o Rely on geology and physical geography to find sites of early human occupation - Locate archaeological sites where there are fossil remains of a hominin, or of a settlement - Provenience location of an artifact or feature within a site o Important to see the environment where artifact was found - Material culture objects that people have and make and are a direct reflection of human culture and behavior - to understand how a community changed one must look at: o changes in environment o population numbers o religion and culture - must look at context where material was found - material culture is also influenced by site formation process environmental and cultural factors that affect how and where materials are deposited at an archaeological site o cultural factors include past populations that dump waste in the same area which create a midden a pile of garbage in a site, which often helps show about population of time o another factor is whether people lived in a place permanently or nomadic affects quantity and distribution of materials o It’s difficult to look at all cultural processes that affect formation of a site because of uncertainty whether material was used every day or for certain occasions, if the materials are native to that location or region, or because people may only use certain things at certain times of the year - Easier to look at inorganic materials such as stone, metals, baked clay, because organic material decays quicker (bone, shell, hair, paper, muscle tissue) Fossils - Fossil locales places where fossilized remains of animals are found, but it doesn’t show on life of animal, only show remains and location - Fossil impression of an insect or leaf that is now stone, or bone turned to stone, or remains an animal’s skeletal structure - Fossilization when an animal dies the organic matter in the body deteriorates o What remains are the inorganic mineral salts which usually deteriorate as well but rarely when volcanic ash, limestone, or mineralized groundwater stick to specimen and make them less likely to deteriorate o Takes 10,000 years - Chemical analysis of bone can suggest what the animal ate - Skeletal findings of hominins were subject to long-term environmental processes - Taphonomy processes that affect an animal’s remains following its death o look at distribution of bones in an area reflect predation by a carnivore and disturbance by scavengers Finding sites: - there are two methods of finding sites: 1. Surface techniques include field walking and field surveying a. Clearing of forests, cultivation, and construction reveal material culture b. Can see from vegetation, erosion, and artificial processes such as plowing 2. Subsurface techniques more efficient, map features beneath the surface a. Mechanical techniques include shoveling or trenching i. Shovel shining: shovel is used to scrape off think layers of surface layer ii. Make test pits to offer a better understanding of site but not as destructive as uncovering all of it, also provide sample and give ability to date site’s age iii. If it’s really deep then you take a small sample: provides snapshot of layers b. Electronic techniques are non-invasive and don’t disturb the site i. Radar wavers: map subsurface sedimentary layers and buried archaeological features. shows map of relative locations and depths of features over a large area ii. Electrical resistivity meters: measure differences in ability of sediments and other materials beneath the surface to conduct electricity Excavation - Datum a fixed permanent reference point within or near the site o Defines location of all information and specimens collected from the site o Future investigations can be spatially related to all previous work at the side - After choosing a datum point, they lay out a grip system that divides site into 1 or 2 meter squares o Allows for data all data to later be incorporated into a single system at the end of the excavation - Presence of patterned variations of materials (trends in the way materials are distributed) reflects the nature and intensity of past human activity: chemicals (phosphorus and nitrogen), charcoal, soil pH levels o Soil samples indicate past climatic and vegetation conditions preserved wood fragments, carbonized seeds, preserved plant parts - Remains of humans include: artifacts (objects made by humans), ecofacts (natural objects used and discarded by humans, but not modified), and features (non-portable portions of a side) o Ecofacts include bones, seeds, pollen, pests o Artifacts include tools, clay pots, stone figurines  Most common artifact from paths are stone stools (lithic)(made 2.5 MYA)  Also ceramics (started being made a 100,000 KYA) o Features include, fireplaces (hearths), burials, houses, fences, midden or pits that are dug to put garbage and then covered up - Association relationships of artifacts with one another is important to understand past life o E.g. important to see where tools were located near hominin Dating techniques Absolute dating - Absolute dating estimate age of specimen or deposit in years - Radiocarbon dating  method that used the decay of carbon 14 to date organic remains, can date up to 50000 KYA o After an organism dies it no longer takes in any radioactive carbon and this dating looks at the decay of carbon 14 o Carbon 14 has a half life of 5730  Look at how much radiation is emitted every minute per gram o To make sure dating is accurate they combine radiocarbon and dendrochronology o Accelerated mass spectrometry radio carbon dating pushes back time to 80 000 MYA and requires less raw material which will be destroyed during process - Dendrochronology determine age of wood by growth rings o Each ring grows every year of its life and each one shows on the climatic conditions during its life - Potassium-Argon dating and Argon-Argon dating a.k.a Potassium 40 is a radioactive form of potassium that decays at an established rate and forms argon40 used in K-Ar dating o Dates samples from 5000 KYA to 3 BYA o Measures minerals in rocks, not fossils in rocks o Usually requires prior occurences of high-temperature events e.g. volcanic eruption o Ar-Ar dating is used with K-Ar dating to estimate same rock sample  With K-Ar, there is the problem because researchers need different rock sample to estimate K and Argon, and so they use both methods instead of just one - Fission-Track dating determine age of uranium-rich minerals such as crystal and glass o Dates minerals in places of fossils o Need a prior occurrence of high-temperature event o Can date a larger variety of objects than the K-Ar method o Can date from 5 to 20 billion year old o Measure by counting number of paths caused by decay of uranium isotope atoms and then compare with uranium content of the sample o Use with K-Ar so they together provide reliable evidence - Palaeomagnetic dating identifies geomagnetic patterns in rocks, and dates fossils within rocks o Unlike above methods this one can date in rocks other than igneous (caused by high temperature) - Uranium Series dating - Thermoluminescence dating - Electron Spin Resonance Dating - Amino Ace Recemization - Obsidian Hydration Above methods are written in book DO WE NEED TO KNOW THEM? Relative dating - Relative dating shows age of specimen relative to another specimen o Based on stratigraphy which is the study of how different layers of sediments and soils, artifacts, and fossils are laid down o Law of superposition states that older layers are generally deeper or lower than more recent layers o Different animals or plants serve as indicators of relative age in different areas of the world o If a site is disturbed it will not be a good way of determining relative age o Use three chemical methods to determine age: F-U-N Trio fluorine, uranium, and nitrogen are all found in water. The older a fossil is the higher its f or u content will b and lower its n content  However, cannot compare relative age of specimen using this method from separated sites as the mineral concentration in each area are different  Uranium is best to use out of three as it works on radioactivity and measuring it doesn’t require destructing any part of the specimen Nov 5 Analysis and Interpretation Analyzing artifacts - Conservation is the process of treating artifacts to stop decay and sometimes reverse deterioration process o Sometimes process is just cleaning and drying item o Chemical treatments o Long-term storage under controlled conditions - Data Processing: - Involves classification: o Process by which we assign items to categories (classes) in a pre-arranged system o Rules determine whether an item belongs or does not belong to a class - One popular method of classification and analysis is through the use of typology o Typology: classification of artifact ‘states’ based on some criterion or criteria  Measurements  How it was made/ manipulated  How it is shaped  Age  Function of artifact - Artifacts are either emic or etic in nature: o Emic: insider’s view of culture; the type was recognized by its manufacturer as meaningful o Etic: outsider’s view of culture; the type is only meaningful to the analyst - Artifacts include items made from: o Stone (lithics)  Display evidence of reduction  Can be divided into chipped or flaked lithic tools and ground stone tools  Flaked Lithic tools emerged with Homo Habilis 2.5 MYA, one of earliest industrial arts, involves removing flakes from cores in controlled manner  Flaked tool are composed of: o Core: the block of raw material from which flakes are struck o Flake” think fragment of lithic material removed from a core o Debitage  To understand how flakes are created must understand fracture mechanics (how force is applied to crease fracture)  Groundstone lithic tools: o Produced by pecking, abrading and polishing macrocrystalline materials o Usually have smooth durable edges and surfaces(e.g. manos (grinding things), mutat o es, axes) o Decorative items can also be made from groundstone o Clay (ceramics)  Relatively recent invention (12,000 KYA)  Made from clay, water and temper (bonding agents such as sand or shell) which is then fired  Temper helps reduce shrinkage and cracking  Forming methods: hand forming, molding, wheel-throwing o Metal o Bone (Faunal) o Plants (e.g. baskets, wooden tools) - Ecofacts include: o Faunal remains- animal bones not used as tools o Floral remains- plant materials not used as tools Analyzing human remains - Osteology study of form and function of the skeleton. Can help estimate: - Age: estimated though skeletal age-indicator technique which looks at bone degeneration, o Other method is remodeling which look at fracture from every day wear and tear - Sex determination: pelvis and hipbone are most reliable parts to determine sex - DNA: helps determine sex, lineage, diseases, - Palaeopathology: study of health and disease in past skeletal evidence to o Differential diagnosis assessing potential diseases that are consistent with evidence observed and deciding which diagnosis is the most probable - Palaedemography: study of demographic structure and processes in past populations o Recent historic hunter-gatherer provide with model for prehistoric populations: ethnographic analogy comparing cultures of recent society to part societies o Use life tables to place individuals into age groups o Growth and migration affect stationarity of populations (assuming no migration and birth and death rate are equal) o War, disease, plaque, invasion, social, political and economic factors also affect demography - Zooarchaeology: study of animal’s remains. Includes different species, minimum number of individuals of each species, age structure o These help understand hunting practices and domestication - Nutrition and diet: o Experimental archaeology: explores a variety of historical questions especially those relating to diet and subsistence  Reconstruct technological traits and materials to understand how they functions o Molecular anthropology: look at genetic traces of organic material left on prehistoric tools o Palaeoethnobotany: study of relationships between plants and people in prehistory  Identify seeds and look at introduction of crops o Coprolites: fossilized species help show diet o Can see level of nutrition from skeletal remains Spatial Analysis/ Past environments - Environmental archaeology understand how people lived through ecologic and climactic conditions o Look at biotic (remains of biological organisms e.g. bones, shells, seeds) and abiotic (geological structures, soil sediments) o Palynology study of pollen which show on vegetative conditions - Settlement Archaeology interpreting the spatial distributions of artifacts, features, sites, etc. in an effort to reconstruct past human action o Look at distribution of sites across a landscape and their relationship to surrounding physical environments o Size, location, and organization of buildings show on social and political structure of the community o Cans how on economy, family organization, movement if at all during seasons, social status, religious views - Importance of ethnoarchaeology- modeling - GIS (Geographical Information Systems) o Most popular tool today for looking, interpreting, and analyzing at spatial patterns o Computer-based system for the input, analysis, management and output of geo-referenced spatial data o Can perform sophisticated multivariate analyses - Settlements also show population size and gender numbers - Carrying capacity estimated population that a given area of land can support, given technology a certain population - Site catchment analysis based on assumption that the more dispersed sources are from habitation sites, the less likely they are to be exploited by a population Social Systems - Must ask what was size of society, was it autonomous or interrelated, how was it organized internally, how did they deal with issues of status, gender, ethnicity, agency? - Items, clay pots, jewellery, - Size: band, tribe, chiefdom, state o Problem with model above because its unilinear only one way in which society can progress, also pigeon hole society in a rigid way isn’t flexible o Band: less than 100 people  Egalitarian, informal leadership  Tend to be highly mobile, temporary camps  Oldest form of social organization  Include all Paleolithic societies o Tribes: 1000-2000 people  Some kin based ranking: pan-tribal (various tribes together) sodalities (political, economic, ceremonial associations; often based on age and sex e.g. blubs, warrior clans)  Great sedentism: farming, herding  Some warfare (raiding)  All Neolithic societies, Iroquois o Chiefdom: larger than tribes (5000-20,000 tribes)  Kin-based ranking under hereditary leader  Economy based on tribute/redistribution  Settlement centers: secular and sacred o States (pre-industrial): 20,000 people  Class-based hierarchy under king/emperor  Laws, bureaucracy (taxation), standing armies  Cities- palaces, temples, public buildings  All ancient civil
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