CLASSICS 1A03 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Ashlar, Thermoluminescence, Atreus

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Published on 12 Apr 2013
School
McMaster University
Department
Classics
Course
CLASSICS 1A03
Professor
Classics IA03: Midterm Exam Review
What is Archaeology?
Scientific study of material culture… aka objects used by cultural groups (jewellery, coins)
Excavations most common form of culture
Archaeology Methods:
1. Discovery & Retrieval of Artifacts
Excavation from depositions allows us to find chronological relationships between
artifacts
2. Interpretation
Identification of object by type; fit into re-established category based on use
Determining date & place of product and maker
Determine role of object within culture most difficult seeing artifact through THEIR
eyes
Archaeology Field Method:
Excavation by Stratigraphy:
Excavation by removal of strata (horizontal layers) of soil
Stratum= a deposition of soil accumulation over time
New topsoil seals earlier deposits
Sealed deposit= archaeological context
Stratigraphy= sequence of deposits of strata placed one above the other
Principle of Stratigraphy:
Lower strata are more ancient than upper strata used to determine
Stratigraphy used to determine relative date or relative chronology
Relative Date vs. Absolute Date:
RD= point of reference is another artifact/ event
AD= date on fixed chronological scale that allows identification known
Ex. Ben arrived Sept 24, 2004 (AD)
John arrived before Jack (RD)
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Scientific Methods of Dating
1. Radiocarbon Dating
Dates anything once living based on known rates of carbon isotopes
Precision it +/- 100 years @ best
2. Tree Ring Dating
Valid only for wood
Precision is +/- 100 years (typically less)
3. Thermo-luminescence Dating
Dates things that’ve been exposed to high temps… like pottery
Interval of time since exposure is measured by emission of photons from crystalline
structures
Precision greater than RC dating
Typology
Classifying objects into like groups tailed to objects of a similar function
Used to provide a date (R or A) outside of specific excavation context
Allows for understanding of development of artifacts
Members of Typology
Differences in typography may be based on
1. Development (chronological separation)
2. Style (geographic separation)
3. Value/ status (economic separation)
Style= an established set of features that are similar across a set of artifacts usually in a limited
geographic range
Minoan: Pre- Greek Civilization
Similar characteristics considered to give rise to Greek culture
Lack evidence of Greek language; a diagnostic feature
Minoan Palace Architecture
1. Central Courtyards
2. Warehouse/ storage areas
3. Western Entrances
4. Theatrical Areas
5. Pillar Crypt
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Minoan Architecture
Cut stone blocks; ashlar= rectilinear solid
Functioning of Palaces:
1. Political
Monumental, indicating seat of power
2. Economic
Storehouse for redistribution of agricultural goods
Metal smiths and artists
3. Religious
Public in theatrical, & private in pillar crypt
***THEREFORE, PALACES ARE MORE FOR ADMINISTRAIVE PURPOSES THAN ROYAL RESIENCES ***
Iconography- study of the subject matter of visual arts = deciphering visual language of the artists
Deciphering Ancient Art
Emblem= identifying clues
Scenes or composition is recognizable from myths & tales
Thera AKA Santorini
Principal site named Akrotiri
Remains from this site are wood framed windows & doors, houses, and complex designs
Conclusions: Minoan Civilization
ECONOMIC: Palaces center of wealth, supported by agricultural land;
Acted as redistribution center of goods
THALASSOCRACY: rule of the sea, control of trade
Military power not in army, but navy
RELIGION: rituals, coming of age rites
Worship of female & fertility
***MINOAN CULTURE IS COTERMINOUS WITH THE RISE OF MYCENEAN CULTURE, BASED ON
MAINLAND GREECE***
Mycenaean Architecture:
MEGARON: large repection hall, focus of palace complexes
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Document Summary

Scientific study of material culture aka objects used by cultural groups (jewellery, coins) Archaeology methods: discovery & retrieval of artifacts. Excavation from depositions allows us to find chronological relationships between artifacts. Identification of object by type; fit into re-established category based on use. Determining date & place of product and maker. Determine role of object within culture most difficult seeing artifact through their eyes. Excavation by removal of strata (horizontal layers) of soil. Stratum= a deposition of soil accumulation over time. Stratigraphy= sequence of deposits of strata placed one above the other. Lower strata are more ancient than upper strata used to determine. Stratigraphy used to determine relative date or relative chronology. Rd= point of reference is another artifact/ event. Ad= date on fixed chronological scale that allows identification known. Dates anything once living based on known rates of carbon isotopes. Precision it +/- 100 years @ best: tree ring dating. Precision is +/- 100 years (typically less: thermo-luminescence dating.

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