ANTH 20633 Lecture 2: Intro to Archaeology Unit 1

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Texas Christian University
ANTH 20633
David Aftandilian

find more resources at Intro to Archaeology 08/22/2016 Archeology: Study of past human cultures & societies - Culture: Language, religion, money, traditions. Not limited to humans. Chapter 2 Artifacts: Objects used, modified, or made by people. Ex: Tools, pottery, etc. Ecofacts: Organic or environmental remains. Ex: Bones, skeletons. Features: Non-porta▯le ▯artifa▯ts▯. Ex: sites, hearths, storage pits, to▯▯s. Matrix: Materials surrounding findings like soil, sediment, rocks. Context: Provenience: Vertical and Horizontal position in matrix. Association with other findings. Primary Context: Intact Secondary Context: Cultural or Natural Formation Taphonomy: Study of how things were buried and what occurred to them after they got buried. Cultural Formation vs Natural Formation Processes Cultural Formation Processes: How people have affected what survives. Four Steps of Human Behavior (tools, food, etc): 1) Acquisition of raw material 2) Manufacture 3) Use 4) Disposal Natural Formation Processes: How nature has affected what survives. Inorganic vs Organic Inorganic: Survive way better than organic. These include rocks, metals, and clay. These serve as a main source of evidence since they are preserved so well. Rocks can tell us about activities while clay pots may contain residue of what was in them. Gold and silver preserve well but bronze oxidizes. find more resources at find more resources at Organic: Bones, things that decay. Determined largely by the matrix and the climate. Preservation of Organic Materials and Climates Climates: Climates have a huge influence on preservation. Tropical Climates: Can be destructive because of warm environment, heavy rain, and humidity. But, they are usually protected from looters. Temperate Climates: Not too good because of fluctuating rainfall and temperature. Caves: Natural conservatories for all materials because they are protected from climate change. Extreme Conditions (Best) Dry: aridity/dryness prevents decay because of shortage of water that prevents microorganisms from forming. Ex: Tombs in Egypt. Cold: Natural refrigeration can hold processes of decay for years. Ex: Juanita Waterlogged: When moisture is low, preservation is low. There is bad preservation near dryland areas. In wetland areas like lakes and swamps good preservation can occur. Archeological Questions What problems do archeologists run into? - Looters/Bottle Collectors - Time Crunch - Money Limits - Toxic Waste - Dangerous operating in front of heavy equipment. - Rain find more resources at find more resources at What kids of evidence can historical archeologists use? - Written records - Oral Stories - Maps - Tax Records - Photographs 4 Fields of Anthropology - Biological anthropology - Cultural anthropology - Linguistic anthropology - Archeology Locating Archeological Sites and Features: How do archaeologists locate sights? Ground Survey: Conducted on a ground level 1) Documentary Sources: Documents can reveal locations and contain clues like when Homer speaks of Troy in the Iliad. 2) Oral Stories 3) Salvage Work: Government is about to perform a road or a tunnel and archaeologists are asked to survey the area. 4) Surface Survey: - Requires a region defined either by cultural or natural boundaries. - Can give information and is cheap, quick, and relatively not destructive. - Usually deliberately used to investigate specific questions that an excavation should▯’t a▯s▯er su▯h as spe▯ial distri▯utio▯ a▯d hu▯a▯ a▯ti▯ities. - Unsystematic vs Systematic: o Unsystematic is just walking across an area while scanning the ground and collecting artifacts on the surface. This method is misleading because humans are not completely reliable. o Systematic divides area into grids and each area is walked separately. This make recording artifacts easier because of the grid. find more resources at find more resources at Aerial Survey: Uses airborne technology to detect sites. Two components: Collecting the data, and interpreting the data. - Aerial Images: Images themselves do not reveal sites, the interpreter does. Oblique vs Vertical Images: Oblique images are taken by archaeologists for an archeological purpose while vertical images are taken for other purposes. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Detecting Sites from the Air: Altered soil usually hints a site. It is important to distinguish natural alterations vs human made alterations. - LIDAR: Technique where aircraft sends laser beams to the ground and records time it gets for the beam to be reflected back, creating a 3D image. It allows archaeologists to remove tree canopy and move sun around. o Best for: dense tropical rainforests. (somewhat smaller areas) - SLAR: Sends radar pulses to the ground and records how long it takes to return, then creates a radar image. Good because it covers a lot more terrain than LIDAR and can eliminate clouds completely and some part of the rainforest. o Best for: Larger areas. - Satellite Imagery (Google Earth): Allows anyone to examine the ground and look for archeological sites through a very accessible resource. Survey VS Excavation Excavation tells us a lot about a site, but can only be done once. While surveys tell us little, but can be repeated. Surveys can be performed when you are out of time, money, or an excavation is not approved. Also, surveys are way less destructive than excavations and can be performed through time in order to see better results (climate and vegetation affect visibility, technology) find more resources at find more resources at Layout of Site Artifacts & Features (Where Are They) Site Surface Survey: Type of surface survey focused on studying the distribution of certain features, and records location of artifacts from the surface. (One es como que where is the cite, y este es mas como que donde estan los features) * SS Criticism: There is a debate whether if surface survey actually works. Critics say it is biased to only newer time periods while advocates say that because of formation processes, different time periods have actually been found. Subsurface Detection - These two methods still show some disturbance. 1) Prones: Sticks that are stuck in the ground and recorded when they hit a hollow or solid point. These sticks can also be designed to take out bottom l
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