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Chapter 2

ANT200Y5 Chapter 2: Archaeology's Past

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Paul Duffy

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NotesFromReadingCHAPTER2ARCHAEOLOGYSPASTPGS2538Introduction Science and the scientific method have taken their modern form in the 500 years since the European RenaissancethArchaeology emerged as a distinct field only in the 19 century but followed a developmental course similar to that of other scientific disciplines While archaeology represents a scientific means of approaching and understanding the past it is only one of many ways of viewing the past Many scientific fields including archaeology originated with the work of amateur collectorsEx the modern field of biology took root with European collectors of local plant and animal life ththincluding many 17 and 18century English country parsons and other gentlemen of leisure Classification The ordering of phenomena into groups classes based on the sharing of attributesThe earliest classifications were usually based on the most obvious traits such as appearance or form Today all classifications continue to be based on the observed characteristics of the material being categorizedIn time amateur collectors increasingly gave way to individuals committed to discovering the meaning behind the assembled facts oFirst they sought to define and break down the full range of forms into classesoIndividuals attempted to infer purpose from physical appearance and to discover the underlying organizing principles inherent in the classificationDescriptive classification based solely on isolated traits cannot provide sophisticated answers about the origins and significance of a set of observable phenomena The Origin of ArchaeologyAntiquarians A nonprofessional who studies the past for its artistic or cultural valueArchaeology did not begin to develop as a separate discipline u
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