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Lecture 3

ANT 104 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Silt, Uniformitarianism, Special Pleading

Anthropology, Cultural and Archaeology
Course Code
ANT 104

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Context (Archaeology focuses on the context of artifacts through the following parts)
Ex: Object found in big gravely thing was probably drawn together under high energy
Ex: Things like silt = low energy deposits
It tells you how object was deposited
Measured position of an object on an archaeological site as X,Y,Z
Measured from "Datum" = the point from which dimensions originate
Measure from West to East, South to North, and depth (Have Datum on hill so can
measure down)
Best place to have a Datum stake is South West and above preferably in Bedrock and
then shoe in a second datum stick and measure between the two so you can have a
back up
Excavation destroys provenience. Once measured provenience can never be
reconstructed with any greater accuracy
If provenience was never measured, an object "lacks context" and is WORTHLESS to
Keeping track of the things you find together
Knowing if buried at similar time or not
(Association is really the only one antiquarianism is concerned about)
Uniformitarianism (As today, so too in the past)
Assumes physical, geological, biological, behavioral processes work in the past in the same way
they do today
Charles Lyell (1797-1875) in Principles of Geology (1833)
This means: No supernatural explanations, appeals to authority, special pleading (Arguing on the
basis of social value)
Must invoke causes you can see today to explain events that happened yesterday
Lewis Binford "Archaeology is Anthropology worth nothing"
Basic Geological Principals
Steno's Law- fossils are older than the rocks that enclose them
Principle of Association
Principle of Super
NOTES FROM 8/29/16
The discovery of "Prehistory"
Christiaan Thomsen
1788-1865, in Denmark- the Three Ages
Was hired to organize the Copenhagen museum of Denmark
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