Lecture 1 Part 1 – Why Study Ancient North America
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Lecture 1 Part 1 – Why Study Ancient North America?
When did people first arrive in the Americas?
o One of the major focuses of archaeological research in North America
Reasons why people are so interested:
o Mystique – cultures and the way they changed over time, farther back
in time you go the more different they were from what we know
o Excitement - harder to find these sites
o Intellectual/Scientific Reasons: central to the discipline of
anthropology, questioned since the arrival of the Europeans, began a
new scholarly approach to find out how they got there
o Area in which all kinds of anthropology can work together –
recently they have started to diverge, but this brings them back
together otherwise we would not fully understand
Archaeologists – study ancient/prehistoric cultures
Biological/Physical – genetics, etc.
Linguistics – ancient languages
Sociocultural – generalizations of human behaviour, use ideas
to create more realistic knowledge
o Provides unique opportunities to all anthropologists
How humans have become so widespread in the world
Few examples of how we colonized new areas where there
were no humans before/no prior knowledge
o Important Ideas
Farther back we go, less evidence we have, things don’t
preserve as well
How to use meager record to explain the lives of the ancients?
– Create new methods to find answers
E.g. stone tools
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