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Midterm

ANTH 111 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Paleoethnobotany, Sewing Needle, Elman Service


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTH 111
Professor
Sebastien Lacombe
Study Guide
Midterm

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EXAM 2
Intro to Anthropology
Archaeology
Professor Lacombe
Introduction
History
First Excavations
o Pompeii (1743)
o Troy (1872-1873)
o Valley of the Kings (1922)
Discipline
Excavating the Past
o Chronology
o Stratigraphy
Depth
o Matrix Concept
Understanding the Past
Must put aside personal opinions
o Look at the facts
Artifacts only make sense in their context
Try to replicate what is found
Reconstructing the Past
This is the ultimate responsibility of archaeologists
Archaeology is not about buildings or artifacts
o It is about PEOPLE, in SOCIETIES
Material Culture
A recurring assemblage of artifacts from a specific time and place
Transformation of Material Culture
Transformation to something more “organized,” more standardized
o Diversity
o Complexity
Examples:
o Stone tools evolving
Being able to do finer and finer work
o Sewing needles
Bone Steel
Going beyond the strictly functional aspect
o SYMBOLIC
It is harder and harder to distinguish between functional and symbolic
What’s important is the people behind it

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Why is Context Important?
Need to understand the purpose of things
o Understand how each artifact was used in everyday life
There are MANY artifacts, and each was made for a specific purpose
It’s not HOW, but WHY people did something
Example:
o Scythian Culture
Very poorly understood
Known exclusively for its burials
Beautifully created jewelry
Setting can be also be important
o Example:
Soldiers buried with their horses
*Things are preserved when they are frozen in the ground*
Conclusion
Material Culture by itself will not tell you anything
o You need the people behind it
For this reason, archaeology isn’t that easy
Subsistence
Why is it interesting?
o It is well-documented in archaeological record
Multiple Techniques of Recovery
Faunal Analysis
o Studying what they ate
o Use bones at the site
These are identified in the lab
Can see food evidence on teeth sometimes
o Looks at traces on the bones
How people cut up the animals
Archaeology of Tools
o Looking at (mostly stone) tools
o Looking at traces
Shape, Marks
Can infer different uses
o Looking at residue
On tools and in pottery
Examples:
o Spears engraved with animals
o Grinding stones
o Sickle blades
o Fish hooks
Paleoethnobotany
o Study of plant remains
Analysis of Coprolites & Stomach Contents
o Content of stomach = last meal
Not necessary accurate of everyday meals
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o Looks at isotopes of carbon
Indicative of certain types of plants
Other Sources?
o Cave Art
Subsistence Strategies Reflect Social Practices
There is very often a ritual component
o Burials, cave paintings
Subsistence = food + everything else about it
o The ritual component
All choices were made by the people
War and Conflicts
Origin of Interpersonal Violence
There is some ambiguity amongst anthropologists
o Continuation of biological instinct? biological
o Outcome of competition cultural
o CONFLICT archaeological
Recognizing Violence
(INDIVIDUAL) skeletal evidence is ambiguous
o MULTIPLE bodies help
Injury
Force beyond necessary
Location & nature of wounds
Maybe absence of grave goods
o COMPLETE CONTEXT IS NECESSARY!
Evidence of Interpersonal Violence
No true evidence before the Mesolithic
o Accidents?
o Isolated examples of violence are not compelling
Increasing & compelling evidence during & after the Neolithic
Enormous regional variation
Examples:
o Jebel Sahaba, Sudan
13,000 years ago
24 projectiles embedded in bodies (out of 59 total bodies)
Most compelling evidence of systematic violence
Mesolithic Evidence
Ofnet Cave, Germany
o 8,500 BP
o Mostly women and children
Denmark sites
Very shady because it is spread out
*Beginning to become convincing*
Neolithic Evidence
It is difficult to NOT see the evidence
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