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ANTH 0582 (1)
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University of Pittsburgh
ANTH 0582

Archaeology Chapter Two: The Structure of Archaeological Inquiry 1. Introduction a. Good archaeology will always be closely aligned with an anthropological approach 2. What’s an Anthropological Approach? a. Anthropologists study native people, fossils, chimpanzees etc b. Anthropology: believe that the best understanding of the human condition arises from a global, comparative, and holistic approach c. Anthropology believes that every aspect of every human society, extant or extinct, counts d. Can see what makes humankind different from the res tof the animal world e. Archaeologists are anthropologists that specialize in ancient societies f. Kinds of Anthropologists i. Biological (physical) Anthropology 1. Study humans as biological organisms 2. Some use fossils, others use genetic variability of work in forensic, some study behavior of nonhuman primates, and some are bioarchaeologists which study human skeletal remains ii. Cultural Anthropology 1. Describe and analyze the culture of modern human groups 2. Commonly use participant observation: gathering data by personally questioning and observing people by living in their society 3. Study rituals, kinship, politics, religion, art, oral histories, medical practices 4. Archaeologists look at things like this for ideas on how to interpret things they find iii. Linguistic Anthropology 1. Focuses on human language 2. Focuses on diversity in grammar, syntax, and lexicon 3. Studies the role of language in the development of culture 4. Use language to cart historical relationships and track ancient migrations 5. Helps archaeologists reconstruct when and from where modern populations migrated iv. Archaeology 1. Study human culture but technology and field methods differ from cultural anthropologists 2. Get their data through recovery of material remains 3. Cultural resource management is the most employable kind g. The Culture Concept i. Culture: learned and shared and symbolic ways of life, isn’t biological or genetic ii. All people have the same amount of culture iii. Culture changes over time- affected by material factors (nutrition) and historical factors (contrast with other people) iv. Anthropology focuses on basic ideas about the world and their place in it rather than individual variations on those ideas v. Culture is symbolic vi. Ex: dogs are seen as pets in America h. How do Anthropologists Study Culture? i. Ideational perspective: research perspective that focuses on ideas, symbols, and mental structures as driving forces in shaping human behavior 1. Insists on “getting inside of a persons head” ii. Adaptive perspective: research perspective that emphasizes technology, ecology, demography, and economics as the key factors in defining human behavior 1. “culture as a system” 2. human behaviors are linked together systematically and change in one can change the others i. An Example The Kwakwaka’wakw Potlach i. Native American tribe living on cost of British Columbia ii. Lived primarily by fishing, hunting and gathering sea animals iii. Lived in large cedar plank houses iv. Had a social hierarchy and even some slaves v. Potlatch: ceremony involved the giving away or destruction of property in order to acquire prestige vi. Trade language: language that develops among speakers of different languages to permit economic exchanges vii. Potlaches accompanied high ranking marriages between villages, funerals, and the raising of totem poles viii. The guests would act dissatisfied when receiving these gifts ix. Involved bonfires, magic tricks, singing, and ranking families displaying valuable heirlooms x. Would eat a shit ton and give out goods or just throw them away xi. The more they gave out, the more prestige they were xii. The Potlach as Ideational Message 1. The objective was prestige for the person giving the feast 2. Through association with this man, guests gained prestige 3. Seemed barbaric and wasteful, but didn’t know the legends and stories behind the masks and symbols 4. But imagine them watching football xiii. The Potlach as Adaptive Strategy 1. They depended on salmon for their winter food supply 2. The less fortunate villages would create alliances with bigger for food 3. Visitors could go to more popular villages and leave with a full belly and powerful ally 4. Helped shift population from less productive to more productive 5. The drive for individual prestige held a material significance for the rank and file villagers xiv. Which Perspective is Better? 1. Neither 2. Both see the world differently 3. Adaptive recognizes that humans must respond to material conditions of environment 4. Ideational shows how humans respond and the ways it was conducted 5. Need both 3. What’s a Scientific Approach? a. Science (latin “to know”) is the search for answers through a process that is objective, systematic, logical, predictive, self-critical, and public b. Archaeological sites can show early examples of scientific reasoning c. Sir Francis Bacon: seventeenth century, codifed the scientific method in his book Novum Organum d. Science is now divided by physical sceinces, biological sciences and social sciences e. Scientific approach unifies the sciences f. Characteristics of a scientific approach (by Lawrence Kuznar) i. Science is empirical or objective 1. Concerned with measurable and observable world ii. Science is systematic and explicit 1. Try to collect data, try to specify their procedures so they can get the same thing every time iii. Science is logical iv. Science is explanatory and predicitive v. Science is self critical and based on testing vi. Science is public g. How Science Explains Things: The Moundbuilder Myth i. People arriving on North American continent wanted to know who was already living there ii. There were huge mounds there that were man mound, some smaller, some shaped like animals, some were conical etc iii. Many colonial farmers plowed them and found things inside like human skeletal remains, artworks, sheets of mica, shells, tombs, pottery etc iv. Colonists just decided it was the Indians who destroyed this magnificent civilization v. A President’s Attention 1. Jefferson said that the native Indians were capable of making those mounds 2. He excavated
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