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Lecture2 - what can things tell us about people.docx

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Department
Anthropology
Course
Anthropology 1020E
Professor
Alexis Dolphin
Semester
Fall

Description
rd March 3  / 2014 Lecture #2: What Can Things Tell Us About People? ­ Context is Everything: o Where items are found and what they are found with  The same item can mean very different things depending on where  it’s found ­ Context: o The temporal and spatial setting of an archaeological find, comprised of  its:  Matrix • Material that surround an object, e.g sand, clay etc.  Provenience • Horizontal and vertical position within matrix o (Measured relative to datum)   Association(s) • Other archaeological remains with which it occurs  o Example:  Archaeological textile fragment: • Woven fabric, textile itself provides some information: o Weaving, fiber identification, radiocarbon dating,  • River Liffey, Dublin  ▯Norse expansion, colonial life  o Example 2:  Teotihuacan, near Mexico City  ­ What are the main categories of archaeological evidence? o 1. Archaeological Site  definition: a location that contains physical evidence of past human  activity in the form of:  • Artifacts  o Portable objects made, modified or used by people  • Features  ­­­­­ all material culture  o Non­portable artifacts o Not something that you can pick up and simply  move  o Can be complex or simple  • Eco­facts o Non­artifactual environment remains with relevance  to our understanding of past human activity  Plant remains, animal remains etc o 2. Cultural Landscapes rd March 3  / 2014  Defined by UNESCO as: “combined works of nature and human  kind that express a long and intimate relationship between peoples  and their natural environment” ­ Why do archaeologists dig square holes? o Gives good control and makes it easier to record precise location of  objects o Stratigraphy:   The layers (strata) of soil and other material that compose an  archaeological site  • Natural strata • Cultural strata  o E.g: Garbage  ­ Law of Superposition o Where one stratum overlies another, the lower one was deposited first   People sometimes screw up the layers by digging holes ­ Excavation o Proceeds stratigraphically   Want to take off each stratum one layer at a time and record it by  layer  o Choice of tools depends on the nature of the site ­ Recording o During excavation:  Archaeologists record 3­dimensional provenience using a datum  and grid • Datum: reference point, doesn’t matter where you put it as  long as you DON’T move it ­ How do Archaeologists link old things with past people? o Hawke’s ladder of inference  Suggested that certain kinds of questions were easier to answer  based on archaeological remains and some t
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