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Lecture 3

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Michael Chazan

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 headwinged cherubswillow tree and urns o More useful in past before newer dating process  Radiocarbon dating o Carbon 14 o Cosmic radiationCarbon 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? 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  Spirits whose names have not yet been penned for posterity: by recovering these objects, those people in their present would be able t
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