Online AR100 lecture 1/24/14
Archaeological record is the distribution of materials associated with human activities distrusted
over and under the surface of the earth. It comprises of four primary categories of archaeological
data: artifacts, ecofacts, features, and structures/architecture.
Artifacts – objects of human creation. They are portable and can be collected through
archaeological recovery techniques, and taken from sites.
Ecofacts materials from nature that are used or modified by humans through various activities
Features – permanent installations that have been constructed in the earth. Nonportable.
Structures/ architecture – above ground buildings that intersect with archaeological landscapes
Activity areas – comprise of discrete locales of specialized work. These might consist of tool
manufacture or cooking areas.
Assemblages – comprise of larger bundles of artifacts, ecofacts, features, and structures
associated with a community and across a single site assemblages would comprise groups or
artifacts from different areas of the site.
Sites – concentrated locales of human activity and materials. Bounds of archaeological sites can
be defined by activity areas. Together assemblages comprise the archaeological site.
Culture areas – these are large geographic areas where similar cultural artifacts, features, and
structures are found.
Region – the largest component of archaeological data. Consists of both geographical and
topographical features such as lakes, rivers, mountains, and cultural (such as similarities in
Matrix – the physical medium that surrounds the archaeological record (Munsell Color system
Provenience – the physical 3d location of archaeological data recovered through excavation or
survey (Total Station and hand drawn)
The Law of Superposition – allows us to understand the relationships between artifacts,
features, structures, and archaeological deposits. It states the materials and deposits that are lower
in the earth are older than those above.
The Principle of Association – allows us to link archaeological material in associated deposits
and archaeological material that are in the same deposit is said to be associated material
Context characteristics of archaeological data, resulting from combined behavioral processes
(human agents) and transformational processes (natural agents). These processes are evaluated by
means of recorded association matrix and provenience.
Context – creation, deposition, postdepositional processes Manufacture/ origin – the origin creation of archaeological material, and its use in the past
Deposition – how it was deposited in the archaeological record. What manner was it deposited in
Primary context – the original location of an artifact or feature
Secondary context – the current location of an artifact or feature, but it was in a different
location during its original use
The transformation of the archaeological record – transformations affect the primary or secondary
Natural transformation – include the macro level (erosion, mudslide, geological pressure,
earthquakes) and micro level (insect burrows and nests)
BIOTURBATION this is the disturbance of the archaeological record from plant and animal
activities such as root growth or animal burrowing
Cultural transformations – take place due to direct and indirect human activity (plowing,
mining). There is also malicious activi