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Archeaological Data and Dating.docx

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Doug Thomson

Lecture 1 Archaeology Archaeologicth Data and Dating October 27 , 2011 Archeological Record -the matrices in which artifacts, Eco facts, sites and other human-manufactured features or results of past human action are found -not necessarily found below ground, e.g ‘cultural landscapes’ Three typical Elements of archaeological research -observe material culture -unobserved (past) human/non-human activity -interpretation of (past) human activity Material evidence -Physical  Artifacts – any portable object whose form has been shaped (i.e. manufactured or modified) by way of human activity  Features- Nonportable material evidence of human activity (eg. Hearths, storage pits, postholes)  Eco facts- non-artificial material evidence of human activity -can be subdivided into macrofossils (visible to the naked eye and can be retrieved through flotation or normal excavation procedures) and Microfossils (visible only under high- power magnification, 200x or greater, eg. Phytoliths found in soils or residues adhering to artifacts) Flotation device -water separation of soil matrices Screen- considerations: aperture -used primarily to recover macrofossils size of mesh tied to research -lighter materials float to the surface, caught in sleeves design -Spatial  Activity areas, sites, regions Archeological Site -can be defined in a number of ways -usually consists of a collection of activity areas containing any of the following; -artifacts, Eco facts and features Provenience (Provenance) -physical location in three-dimensional space -site level: grid system -regional level: map coordinates, settlement features (e.g roads, towns) Site Formations Processes -Affected by:  Human agencies – eg. Curating/ discard of objects  Natural agencies – eg. Soil composition, environment, temperature, disturbance by animals (tophonomic processes) Finding Archaeological Sites Note~ a number of sites are found by accident -Field Methods  Surface Techniques -field walking—used to survey ____ areas, very efficient -test pitting—used to survey areas that cannot be examined by other methods -aerial photography, satellite imaging—great tools for finding sites, or identifying areas of high potential/ works well when there are large scale objects -Remote sensing  Resistivity---measures the resistance of the ground to an electrical current/ current passes more quickly though wet ground than dry ground  Magnetometry--- measures magnetic fields below the earth’s surface some are
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