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Lecture 1 Part 1 – Why Study Ancient North America

Course Code
ANTH 2231F/G
Christopher Ellis

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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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