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The Research Process, Explanation in Archaeology.docx

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Bonnie Glencross

The Research Process, Explanation in Archaeology  The ‘New Archaeology’ of the 1950s steered the entire discipline away from the description of artifacts to the study of people’s behaviour  Early practitioners including George Willey and Philip Phillips wanted archaeology to be more scientific and anthropological  Science and tech are linked; following WWII a # of new tech made themselves available to archaeology Research design  Formulation o Scientific formulations: involve specific questions addressed through observation, testable hypotheses and predictions  Academics: (like prof)  Museum associates: questions can come from museums o Can also be constructed to address questions raised by descendant groups o Where there is reason to believe human remains will be encountered, it is required that the appropriate authorities are contacted  Authorities are responsible for assessing the situation and deciding how to proceed o Cultural Research Management (CRM) formulations: steered by the mandate of protection and management  Important component of most project planning efforts  Collecting and recording of evidence o Investigations should begin with an exhaustive review of the literature for a particular time period and area  Includes site location, type of site, history of research, cultural affinities, artifact collection location, research date, and other info  The Ministry of Tourism and Culture has an ON Archaeological sites database  currently has info on over 20,000 sites o Other archival sources include ethno-historical and historical records  The Jesuit Relations: a collection of letters and reports written by Jesuit missionaries during the 17 century in New France and other parts of the new World  Ethno-historical sources may provide information on locations, possible artifacts and features encountered o Following the background investigation, a surface survey is conducted  Ideal conditions for investigating the surface are land recently plowed followed by rainfall (or local residents)  If not, use “test pits” o A sampling strategy should be devised  How much a site is excavated depends on funds and time available and type of info being sought  Larger samples = more representative  Living population  mortality sample  cemetery sample  excavated sampl analyzable sample (there is a bias already h
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