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Archaeology Lecture 1.docx

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Western University
Anthropology 1020E
Alexis Dolphin

th February 24 /2014 Archaeology Lecture 1/Intro - Interested in what ancient artifacts can tell us about the way people used to live o Variability in the objects across regions and a broader scale (internationally)  Indicates trade, social status o How these things change through time - What do archaeologists really do? o Research-driven archeology  Universities  Particular questions  Excavate sites very slowly and particularly  Published in academic journals  Small portion of all archaeology o Cultural Resource Management  Document sites before they are built over/developed  Not really analyzed, just sits there - Why does archaeology matter? o Have to justify the reason for excavation - Archaeology’s Contributions o Long term perspective  You cant know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been o Norse Greenland (1000-1500AD)  Vikings, originally from Norway  Also farmers, brought with them their traditional practices • Raised lots of livestock  Built stone structures  Collapsed about 500 years after they arrived in Greenland • Over-grazing  accelerated erosion o Greenland had never housed so much livestock • Climate cooling caused the vegetation not to grow back as quickly making the over grazing and erosion even worse th February 24 /2014 • Maintained traditional diet  would not adopt local foods • Shifting trading patterns o Ivory- allowed them to trade with Norway  Walrus • 1400AD they establish trade with Africa and got their Ivory from them • People either died or returned back to Norway • Flexibility is key to the survival of a society o Social Justice  1. People often use biased versions of the past to justify inequality in the present.Archeology can provide a more balanced version • Example: Myth of the Moundbuilders o Large earthworks throughout the NE U.S.A o Early colonists (18-19 C) attributed them to a “lost race” of Europeans  They thought nativeAmericans were incapable of doing this o Influenced by and perpetuated displacement of NativeAmericans o By the late 1870’s archaeologists prove NativeAmerican origins of mounds • Example 2: NaziArchaeology o Nazi archaeologists identified “Germanic” items in Poland and Czech Republic o Argued that these lands were originally German  Justified that they were just taking their land back  2. History often written by the victors.Archaeology can tell the stories of marginalized groups written out of history • The slave experience • African cultural traditions persist despite massive disruption • Colono ware jars o Speaks to the type of food and traditions th February 24 /2014 • Ingenuity and self-sufficiency in the face of discrimination o Porches on houses were adopted from the Africans  3. Community/IndigenousArchaeology • Collaboration with local communities as equal partners in research o Arviat archaeology and oral history project o Dr. Peter Dawson (u of Calgary) and Pallmuit Elders • Can help to empower marginalized groups politically • Richer interpretations of the past and incorporating multiple p
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