[ANTHROP 3401] - Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam (38 pages long!)

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ANTHROP 3401
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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Anthro 3401
1
What is Archaeology?
January 11 & January 13
I. Three Secrets of Archaeology
A. Archaeologists study people
1. Culture = knowledge, beliefs, art, morals, laws, customs, etc.
2. Integrated system of beliefs, traditions and customs
B. Archaeologists learn little from individual artifacts
1. Context is key
C. To do archaeology well, you must observe how people interact with material
world today
1. Midden = trash pile
2. Famadihana of Madagascar dead relatives periodically removed from
graves, rewrapped in fresh silk
3. Ancestor worship people pay tribute in the hopes their ancestors can
affect their lives
4. Tucson Garbage Project William Rathje (Univ. of Arizona)
a. Studied patterns of consumption = differences between what
people said they consumed vs. what was actually observed
b. Had more alcohol than they said they did
II. Holistic Anthropology
A. Anthropology = study of all aspects of humankind, extant and extinct, employing
an all-encompassing holistic approach
B. Sub-disciplines: cultural, physical, linguistic, archaeology
C. Cultural anthropology
1. Emphasizes the learned social behaviors of living, or recent, social
groups
D. Linguistic anthropology
1. Focus on the role of language in human social life
2. Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
E. Biological anthropology
1. Focuses on biological basis of humankind
2. Forensic; primatology; bioarchaeology; genetics and human variation
F. Anthropological archaeology
1. Study of past people through systematic recovery and analysis of
material remains
III. Basic Division of Archaeology
A. New World (the Americas) vs. Old World
B. Historic vs. prehistoric
IV. Archaeological Theory
A. High-level theory (general theory)
1. Overarching framework for how and why people live their lives and
view the world
2. Very general, broad stroke theory
3. Shared in many disciplines
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Anthro 3401
2
4. E.g., evolutionary ecology, gender theory, network theory, community
ecology, power, etc.
B. Middle-level theory (middle range theory)
1. Links static artifacts and such with the dynamic behaviors that produced
them
2. Experimental archaeology; ethnoarchaeology
C. Low-level theory (the “facts”)
1. Artifacts, ecofacts, features = objects
2. Data = observations concerning these objects
3. Low-level theory tells you what observations to record; what
observations are meaningful
D. Example: mud dauber wasp nests
1. Both burned and not burned (low-level)
2. How were these processed? What nutritional value and calories can be
had from these tasty morsels? In what environments/cultures do we see
these being consumed? (middle-level)
3. From the perspective of evolutionary ecology optimal foraging theory
a. Wasp larvae are expedient snack, rich in calories, fat, vitamins and
minerals (high-level)
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