Anthropology 1020E Chapter Notes -Nondestructive Testing, Digital Elevation Model, Computer Hardware

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CHAP 2: WHAT IS LEFT? THE VARIETY OF THE EVIDENCE
Basic Categories of Archeological Evidence
-ecofacts: non-artifactual organic and environmental remains
-artifacts are human made or modified portable objects
-features: modified landscapes or parts of a site
-non-artifactual organic and environmental remains or ecofacts: human skeletons, animal bones,
plants remains, soils and sediments
-archeological sites: where artifacts, features, structures and organic and environmental remains
are found together
>The Importance of Context
-context consists of its immediate matrix (the material surrounding it , usually sediment, gravel,
sand, clay), its provenience (horizontal and vertical position within the matrix), and its association
with other finds (occurrence together with other archaeological remains usually in the same matrix)
-when modern or ancient looters disturb a site, the destroy the material‘s primary context – if arch
study this later hey need to be able to recognize that it is in a secondary context (nature and
animals can also destroy primary context)
Formation Processes
-cultural formation processes: involve deliberate or accidental activities of human begins as thy
make or use artifacts, build or abandon builds, plow their fields, etc.
-natural formation processes: natural events that govern both the burial and the survival of
archaeological record, common example is the gradual burial of artifacts by wind-borne sand or soil
Cultural Formation Processes – How People have Affected what Survives in the Archaeological
Record
-the original human behaviour before the site was buried and those after burial
-original human behaviour: often reflected archaeologically in 4 major activities: 1. Acquisition of the
raw material, 2. Manufacture, 3. Use and distribution, 4. Disposal or discard when the tool is worn
out or broken
-deliberate burial of valuable or the dead is another major aspect of original human behaviour;
hoards of prized possessions source of evidence for certain periods based on material use
Natural formation processes – how nature affects what survives in the arc record
>Inorganic materials
-most common to survive are stone, clay, metal
-stone tools: survive very well, some over 2 mil years old
-fired clay: pottery and baked mud brick or adobe is virtually indestructible is well fired
-metals like gold, silver, and lead survive well. Copper and bronze are attacked by acid soils and
oxidize
>Organic Materials
-their survival dependent upon the matric and by climate, metallic soil preserves, salt mines also
helped preserve organic finds
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