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Lecture 13

Lecture 13 Part 1 – Developing Chronologies and Relative Dating

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Anthropology 2229F/G
Christopher Ellis

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Lecture 13 Part 1 – Developing Chronologies and Relative Dating  First major goal of archaeology  Need to arrange the archaeological record in time and space  Best case scenario: should see no change over a certain period of time; no significant time or spatial variation; homogenous  Takes a long time to get the best time/space approximation  E.g. Stone Age (2 million years); subdivided into: o Paleolithic o Mesolithic o Neolithic o Variable through time; each of the subdivisions were divided into the Lower, Middle and Upper o Then recognized certain cultures, finer subdivisions in time and space o Large units can cause problems, but are a good starting point  Working out time-space frameworks starts with large divisions which are later divided into finer chronologies o Takes a long time to get to the finest level  Phase: treated equivalent to modern cultures (e.g. ethnographers studying modern Hurons, etc.) Methods Used to Date Sites:  Relative Dating o Older/younger in comparison to something else; age is relative to something else o Stratigraphic Dating: sites consist of discrete layers of material; gives you the relative sequence of events over time (no specific dates)  Can recognize layers visually (different colours, textures) and chemically (activities carried out at site, etc.)  Law of Superposition: layers on top are younger than those underneath  Arbitrary Levels: assumption that sites that are deeper are older or deeper levels of sites are older than those on top  If site is build up on an angle, you can associate older layers with younger ones; can be misleading  Always dig natural strata when possible  Penecontemporary: all about t
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