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Chapter 1

Anth 3650 Jennings Ch.1 .doc
Anth 3650 Jennings Ch.1 .doc

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University of Guelph
ANTH 3650
Edward Hedican

Jennings – Chapter 1: Prehistory of North America Definitions, Distinctions & Background p.1-12 - Invoicing self-conscious theory in archaeological interpretation is more characteristic of 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, - Book is based on some assumptions 1. most human behaviour is adaptive. adaptation to a specific social and natural envi- ronment is the piece of cultural survival 2. adaptation must be treated as a set of culturally controlled human interactions with the natural environment, in a two-way relationship called ecology. Adaptation leads to an ecological perspective. 3. culture is a dynamic, open-system. Effects of some interactions can be detected. e.g. long-term climate change could force changed in the food species collected. Culture History: Implied that most human behaviour is guided by a series of culturally established concepts or precepts of what are correct, and acceptably patterned activi- ties in a given cultural entity. American archaeology began in Europe, shifted to North America two centuries ago. - formal history began with Thomas Jefferson’s investigation of a burial mound on his estate in Virginia - next century = myths and misconceptions that Native Americans were incapable of the craftsmanship needed to create what was found. - laid to rest by smithsonian institution archaeologists in 1880s - 1492-1840 Speculative Period - 1840-1914 Classificatory - Descriptive Period - when some myths were weakened - 1914-1940 Classificatory - Historical Period - devoted to chronology - 1940-1960 devoted to context and function - 1960 on - Explanatory Period - many excursions into Theory and answer ‘why’ Archaeology Defined - branch of anthropology - divided into two fields 1) Physical Anthropology - defined homo sapiens as a mammalian species subject to genetic and biological study like any other species 2) Cultural Anthropology - concerned with human behaviour in groups and included the subfields or linguistic, archaeology, and ethnology Archaeology defined as dealing with material objects, structures and other remnants of extinct lifeways. - also an incomplete extension of history into prehistoric time - always has a chronological/historical bias - findings provide data as documents in the task of learning and explaining cultural his- tory - limited to material objects and their context Archaeology --> proper word for techniques and methods used in collecting and study- ing the objects residual from human behaviour - is analytic PreHistory - implies a holistic overview from using archaeological, linguistic data in an explanation or more precise statement about the human past in general or a specific lo- cal culture - it is synthetic Diversity of Aboriginal Cultures in America - 7 major language stocks in North America - total of mutually unintelligible languages is 200+ - diversity in vast range of sociopolitical organization mythology, religion, art motifs and technologies - tribal diversity is somewhat patterned - culture area geographical area within which cultures show considerable similarity to each other and relative lack of similarity to culture
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