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Archaeology review (Quiz 1).odt

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University of Toronto St. George

Part One Review Archaeological Survey • Purpose of archaeological survey is to discover sites • Used to understand the distribution of sites within a region how the sites are distributed across the landscape or where different activities took place within a site. • Sometimes to determine whether sites will be destroyed because of projects • Statistical sampling : carefully selected sample is used to represent a larger population • Survey : maps physical remains of human activity • Must take into consideration geological factors that affect preservation and visibility on surface • erosion can complicate interpretation of survey results like when stream channels cut through archaeological sites and redeposit material far downstream • In situ : material that is found in the place where it was originally deposited • wear patterns and absence of very small fragments make it possible to identify material that has been transported • methods of remote sensing, including aerial and satellite photography, play a critical role both in discovering sites and orienting exploration • Geographical information system : Software applications that allow spatial data to be brought together and consolidated ◦ a series of layers or overlays that the software sets to the same scale ◦ for one of these documents to be used in te GIS environment, the exact longitude and latitude of two or three points in the area covered by the map must be known ◦ one can see how a particular site lies relative to the find spots identified in survey, the distribution of soils, the hydrology, and the topography of an area ◦ help archaeologists to visual. Analysis of “viewshed” : what would have been visible to a person from a given spot in the landscape Excavation • Horizontal Excavation : goal is to excavate a broad area in order to expose the remains of a single point in time ◦ Andre Leroi -Gourham pioneer - excavated a hunter gather site from the Magadalenian time period, in the Paris Basin • Vertical Excavation : goal is to excavate a significant depth of deposits in order to expose the record of a sequence of occupation ◦ excavating the entire depth of deposits ◦ analysis of the sequence of deposits, or stratigraphy of the site. • Geological stratigraphy : when sediments are deposited in an undisturbed environment ◦ build up of of sediments follows law of superposition • Law of Superposition : in an undisturbed depositional sequence, each layer is younger than the layer beneath it ◦ Continuous : rocks or sediments are uniform throughout with no clear breaks ◦ Discontinuous : possible to identify discrete layers/strata • Strata : discrete layers in a stratigraphic sequence • Law of superposition applies only in localized contexts where deposition has taken place • geologist drill deep into the earth to gather samples for stratigraphic analyses • road cuts that slice through part of a hill, it is possible to see stratigraphy directly. Exposure is called stratigraphic section or profile • Anthropogenic Deposits : Deposits that result from human activity. Human activities range from building fires on ephemeral hunter-gatherer sites to erecting palaces and fortifications of great cities. • Depositional unit : the material deposited at a site at a particular point in time • Most environments are either erosional or depositional • Burial archaeological sites form depositional Controlling Horizontal and Vertical Space Provenience : the precise context in which an object is recovered in an excavation • create a grid that covers the intended excavation area Typology andAnalysis • Process of placing all vessels and tools in a row and taking a picture of them only works if one recovers complete artifacts and discards everything else • Today most material can be represented by quantitative methods • Quantification: Method used by archaeologists to represent the large quantities of material recovered in excavations and surveys • In analysis of large bodies of data, only a portion of material is analyzed • Artifact classifications begin by defining major categories of objects • sort artifacts on basis of their material of manufacture • develop detailed systems of classification based on types of artifacts • Typology : List of artifact types for a particular archaeological context. Used to draw up an inventory of types of artifacts in a particular archaeological context • Attribute: a particular characteristic of an artifact. ◦ For a simple ceramic bowl, one can observe a surprising number of attributes. Some of these attributes describe the clay out of which the bowl was made and the decoration applied to the bowl. Other attributes describe the shape of the bowl, including the form of the base, the curvature of t
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