Anthropology Notes 2 9/30/2013 5:59:00 AM
ARCHAEOLOGY: Searchg for understanding in the Archaeological record
Archaeological record DOES NOT lie.
In order to interpret what we find, we need to know about a wide
range of aspects of a given culture.
An Archaeological site is past evidence of humans and human
o Archaeological survey: attempt identify them to find, date,
and explain types of human behavior.
o Humans are messy: littering, leaving things behind, etc.
o Artifact: item made, modified, or used by humans.
o There are many types of archaeological site in the world
o We create a database for the known sites
o Provide us information about the technology of the
o Most artifacts are made out of stone.
o Oldowon is the oldest tools made by homo habilis in the
upper Paleolithic period.
o Homo erectus made acheulian tools
o Homo sapien made musterian tools
o Homo sapien spaien made many different tools, bone and
Cultural development closely related to technology
o Present Time: informational age
o Industrial Age: Use of machines
o Iron Age: prerequisite of the industrial age
o Bronze Age: copper and tin
o Neolithic Age: new stone age
o Mesolithic Age: middle stone age
o Paleolithic Age (longest): earliest hominid human stone tools
Upper, Middle, Lower: crudest stone tools in lower.
o Identified bt numerous factors like tools, settlements,
economy, levels of socio-political organization, etc.
AUSTRALOPITHECUS (Afarensis, Africanus, Robustus) and on:
Homo Habilis: Oldowan tools
o Made the first tools, a rock that is flaked into a sharp point
o First found in Olduvai Gorge Homo Erectus: Acheulian tools
o First hominid to leave Africa
o From Africa, Europe, Asia
o Lived for about .5M-1M years
o Tools were hand axes
o First hominid with fire. Also, they built huts from animal
bones and animal skin.
Homo Sapiens Neandertalensis: Mousterian Tools
o Tools first found in France
o More advanced that previous tools
o Used for cutting and drilling
Homo Sapiens Sapiens:
o Many tools, cave art, etc.
Cave art could have been educational or religious
o Most of their tools are blade tools (twice as long as it is wide)
Use of Dating Methods to Determine Age:
o Carbon-14: most widely used, discovered in 1940
Amount of radioactive Carbon shoes when the item was
last exposed to the environment
Has a half-life of +- 5,730 years
Used in Archaeology and Geology
Only can be used to date something that was once
o Archaeomagentic: based on changes of the Earth’s magnetic
Most accurate kind of dating
o Potassium Argon (KAr):
Radioactive decay leaving non-radioactive Argon
Used on rocks
Used to date non-living items
Used for the paleontological record
o Dendro-chronology: dating of trees
Relative (comparing A and B)
o Stratigraphy (Steno’s law) Law of super-positioning: the lower layers are the
o Seriation: certain artifact styles change over time (develop
popularity then decline)
Ex. Tombstones, transportation, fashion, technology
Do things disappear? No, they only change
Levels of Socio-political organization:
o 90% of human existence in Band stage
The United States and the Roman World are considered a “super
Each level has different powers/privileges depending on the
Human societies start off simple and become complex over time
Government provides organization and protection and allows for
Human developments closely related to technological developments:
Use of natural resources
o Ability to have food and water security
Majority of human existence is organized in the band level
o People who were hunter and gatherers (Nomads)
Hunters were normally males because they are “more
The women normally gardened and raide the children.
Artifacts tend to be consistent in style
o Mostly made by the women of the community
o Cannot be dated if it has been moved from its original
Tools were generally limited to flaked stone items
o Types of tools:
Single edge item: cuts in one direction, like a razor
Double edge item: cuts in two directions, like a
o Levalloisian tool complex: tools made according to
predetermined and standard sizes. Working of stone to uniface or biface edge
Debitage, or waste created in stone tool manufacturing
90% of human existence is hunters and gatherers
o This lead to:
Division of labor
Adaptation to cold climates characterized by
dependence on animals for food
MESOLITHIC: between Paleolithic and Neolithic Eras.
Tools and environment change
NEOLITHIC: New stone age
Increase in plant (most important) and animal domestication
Majority of plants are still utilized today
Changes in tool types:
o Use of peck and ground stone
o People settle in villages
o They make pottery (PRIMARY INVENTION) to heat water and
do other tasks.
Bone and ivory used in Paleolithic and Neolithic eras.
o Trade: Not only trading items, but MOST IMPORTANTLY was
the trade of information.
Those that barter have no corporate plan, no authority
Dash: the little extra they give you to try to gain trust
when buying rice or salt, etc in Africa.
o INVENTION: something new
o INNOVACION: a revamping of something already made
Rise of Agricultural groups:
First hunting and gathering, then horticultural (use of hoe and
dibble), then agricultural (plow)
Diets of early agricultural groups are often inferior (not as well
rounded) to that of hunters and gatherers.
o Agricultural people live in close proximity and are more prone
to getting diseases.
o Humans tend to pollute their own water supply. Slow agricultural revolution.
o Plants domesticated: wheat, rice, barley, etc. in Old World.
Corn, tobacco, tomatoes, beans, etc. in New World.
Largely in Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, etc.
Evidence of items “in situ” (in place) reveal organization of labor
and the manufacture of items
Development of bronze and other metal ages
o Develops out of the Neolithic era.
o Rise of civilization more associate with bronze age.
Slower process based on food surplus.
Creation of cities and administration control.
(someone has to be in charge)
Egalitarian vs. H