Terms in this set (64)
Cultural Resource Management
The vocation and practice of managing cultural resources, such as the arts and heritage. Essentially, it evolves managing historic places of archaeological, architectural, and historical interests and considering such places in compliance with environmental and historic preservation laws. Significance is it prohibits looting in certain areas, and helps preserve our knowledge of the ground
(1492-1840)-Armchair archaeology, where people did little hands on work and all data was biased mainly from explorers and missionaries. Lots of raciest undertones and bias accounts, which were problematic in how they labeled the Native Americans. The moundbuilder myth- an interpretation from Europeans of magnificent mounds found in the Americas is an example of these bias accounts. They theorized that Native Americans could not have possibly built these mounds because Native Americans do not have the intelligence to do so; it may have been lost tribes of Israel. This myth made it easier for Europeans to take the mounds away from Native Americans, exploiting their culture.
(1773-1776)- He was a naturalist/artist who took accounts of the Native Americans (Creek, Seminole and Cherokee). He pioneered the detailed observations of the natural world.
Clarence B. Moore
(1852-1936)- An archaeologist, he explored water ways in the southeast. He looked as mounds and shell middens in the southeast and macro-focused archaeology, making his work important for other archaeologist.
Works Projects Administration (WPA)
This Project put unemployed people to work after the Great Depression. This caused a surge of fieldwork in the USA. After the depression the US was going to flood a valley so they excavated before the flood and as a result massive collections were formed. This influx improved field methods and cultural synthesis of regions (pottery types and artifacts).
(1875-1964)- An archaeologist who took an ecological approach and theorized that everything was determined/attributed to environmental causes. He was one of the first museum archaeologists and established the first solid ceramic chronologies for the Southwest (based on seriation).
Alfred V. Kidder
Alfred V. Kidder- (1886-1963)- An archaeologist who created a survey ideology that people follow to this day. He argued for rigorous and controlled excavations; and explained how context is key- a thought and process that influences archaeologist today.
James Ford Lewis
(1911-1968)- A major WPA archaeologist who was the first to establish chronologies in the southeast using seriations without stratigraphy. He came up with seriation and was the first to consider Poverty Point in Louisiana as a site of social/political networks. This interpretation suggested that lots of people would migrate during different seasons and paved way for the thought of a cultural and informational exchange.
Binford- An archaeologist (processual archaeology) who catalyzed a new form of archaeology. He reiterated Taylor's critique and advocated for this middle range research. This middle range research connected theory to pieces of data. An example of middle range research is ethnoarchaeology, which aids archaeologist in reconstructing ancient life ways by studying material and non-material traditions of modern societies. Archaeologist can use ethnographic comparison of how artifacts were used in different regions to sieve through different interpretations and think about which could be more likely the function of an artifact
This is the study of people for archaeological purposes. It is part of the middle range research, which aids archaeologist in reconstructing ancient life ways by studying material and non-material traditions of modern societies. This was part of the processual archeology time period and Binford, advocated for this middle range research.
Archaeologist can use ethnographic comparison of how artifacts were used in different regions. This is a good way to sieve through different interpretations and think about which could be more likely the function of an artifact.
Middle Range Research
This is research that connects an archaeologist theory to pieces of data found. This can include ethnographic analogy, ethnoarchaeology and experimental archaeology. This was part of the processual archeology time period and Binford, advocated for this middle range research. An example is ethnoarchaeology, which aids archaeologist in reconstructing ancient life ways by studying material and non-material traditions of modern societies. Archaeologist can use ethnographic comparison of how artifacts were used in different regions to sieve through different interpretations and think about which could be more likely the function of an artifact.
(60's)- A relevant, public, scientific archaeology which pushed to be more objective. Binford was part of this era, and the field was more scientific and environment, looking at how do people fit into the environment. There was a lot of modeling and "what would make a decision rational"? This time period included ethnoarchaeology and experimental archaeology.
(80's)- A humanist, situated, contextual archaeology that was trying to humanize the past (subjectivity) in response to science driven archaeology. It acknowledged that people have agency (freewill) and cultural values that can make understanding a society more complex and not just a science of human logic. It took more of a political approach (gender, race) and inserting people into the picture.
Ice Man Murder Mystery
A story about Otsi, a mummified corpse pulled from a glacier in the Italian Alps. He is the oldest human found (about 5000 years old). He provides a glimpse of life in the ancient world. People are able to analyze his stomach contents, his tools and whole body as the ice preserved him very well. He was found with a cooper axe, which made archaeologist push back this creating 1000 years form what was previously guessed
Site deposits that consist of a decomposed garbage pile; trash heaps. (Examples include shell middens or kitchen middens) These areas can provide an anaerobic environment where organic materials can be well preserved. The dark soil often suggests organic material and compounds, which enables archaeologist to learn about diet, resources and the land during a certain time period. Archaeologists often look for and excavate in middens because the record of everyday domestic activities is well contained within them (both artifacts and ecofacts).
A geographic locality where there is some evidence of past human activity. Sites must have some boundary to separate it from the surrounding area. This is where archaeologist do excavations and field work typically. This is a critical part of archaeology given that this is where artifacts/ecofacts and most data collection occurs. Later on, archaeologist can take all this new found knowledge to analyze, compare and make inferences about people from a specific site.
Law of Superposition
This is the idea that soil/findings lower in the ground are older than the material above it. This is important and works well for deep stratigraphic profiles. Archaeologist can use this to do relative dating, and set some sort of chronology of materials younger or older than one another. Using relative dating, archaeologist can work sequencing artifacts and provide a great deal of information. However, there are many ways where stratigraphy can be moved and materials shifted through cultural and natural means. For example and earthquake can shift rocks and materials can sink lower than their original location. Similarly, animals can dig up bones or other organic material and leave it higher on the surface. The law of superposition is useful for relative dating, but an archaeologist must still be aware of the possibilities of movement
The different layers of soil/rock. Having intact stratigraphy is a good way to date artifacts/ecofacts found. Archaeologist can use relative dating using the law of superposition. This states that material closer to the surface is younger than material found in deeper levels of stratigraphy. However, there are many ways where stratigraphy can be moved and materials shifted through cultural and natural means. For example and earthquake can shift rocks and materials can sink lower than their original location. Similarly, animals can dig up bones or other organic material and leave it higher on the surface. The law of superposition is useful for relative dating, but an archaeologist must still be aware of the possibilities of movement.
When an archaeologist finds an artifact/ecofact and leaves it where they found it (does not remove it). They take pictures of the object in situ, which allows the use of context (i.e where the object was founds provides context for maybe its function, who used it or what happened to it). Only after pictures are taken and all data recorded do archaeologist remove the object
Artifacts that contain multiple parts, such as a knife with a metal blade and wooden handle. With varying pieces, the composite tool shows access to different resources and the ability to meld and combine single objects to form a more efficient or useful tool. It gives insight to archaeologist as to what recourses were available as well as the lifestyle of people from a specific time
Movable objects that tell us about past human behavior. These objects have been modified by humans and are examines by archaeologist. Artifacts can tell us lots of things about a group of people or society. For example, a pottery bowl with certain attributes could be identified for a certain time period, suggest certain cultural rituals as well as give insight into the technology and intelligence needed to create such a bowl.
Movable objects that tell us about the past of human behavior and are not modified by humans. For example, pollen is useful for environmental reconstruction. We cannot assume that the environment of a certain area today was the same hundreds of years ago. It can tell us about a shift in agriculture, types of cells left behind from plants can be analyzed and human/animal bones as well.
Ancient poop, an ecofact that allow archaeologist to sort through and see what people were eating/putting into their bodies to a certain degree. Gives direct evidence of consumption and even general health of a person in that time period/location.
The study of the transformation of organic remains after death to form fossil and archaeological remains. The study includes the process that disturbs and damages bones before, during and after burial. There are cultural formations (C-transforms), that are deliberate or accidental activities of humans that affect how archaeological materials are buried. Examples include, making or using artifacts, building or abandoning buildings and even plowing through fields. Natural formation (N-formation) are naturally occurring, such as earthquakes or rodent burrowing. The more quickly something is buried, the better preserved it can be due to the lack of weathering that it undergoes. The study of everything that happens to an assemblage between when humans leave it to when archaeologist find it
Waterlogged environments, which are anaerobic, and permanent. Peat Bogs are the best wetland condition due to no flow of water. These places provide a very good preservative environment and whole skeletons with hair have been found (as well as other organic materials that otherwise would be lost).
When an archaeologist is surveying a site they depend on surface visibility. Dry lands are good places to rely on surface visibility. Archaeologists can do shovel, test, pit (STP) where they make wholes in a systematic-grid like way in a specific area and look for cultural remains. Afterwards, archaeologist can pin point further areas for discovery, which can lead to the findings of new sites
Archaeologist will use drones to take photos from above (aerial photography). Archaeologists also have access to certain resolutions of government aerial photos. This is good to get a broad view of a site or prospective site, see patterns and large scale shapes that may be invisible to someone on the ground
A nonrandom selected sample based on the archaeologist's judgment or special interest. This is good for people who want to focus on something specific and not waste time taking a random sample of a large area. This system offers flexibility, but inferences drawn from a judgment sample cannot be generalized to the whole area.
This is a random sampling where an archaeologist identifies transects and columns are completely sampled. The advantage to this way of surveying a site is that it forces an objective examination of the entire area and archaeologist may sample a space they otherwise wouldn't.
Sierra de los Tuxtlas
A volcanic belt and mountain range along the coast of Mexico. It was a major regional survey that looked at artifacts and defined how long ago they were in the area (developed a time period) with layers of artifacts. There are different periods of settlements, developing small homes to large centers and then a decline in population due to volcanic eruption. It looked at population change over time, which gave archaeologist a big regional picture.
This is a geochemical method of determining absolute time of an artifact made of obsidian (volcanic glass) up to 50kya. Volcanic glass can form very sharp edges and is used in making tools. Water from the surrounding environment begins to soak into the tool, and over time a band/rim will form. In theory, the thicker the band the older the object, which gives archaeologist a sense of time for some tools. However, an issue that comes up with this method, is that it cannot take into account people recycling tools, and re-wearing them down. In addition, the saturation of a toll is specific to its environment, and cannot be compared with another tool that appeared in a different environment.
A relative dating method in archaeology in which artifacts from numerous sites, in the same culture are placed in chronological order. Artifacts or features are organized into a sequence according to changes over time in their attributes or frequency of appearance. This technique shows how these items have changed over time and it is a way to establish chronology without stratigraphy. (James Ford did this). Archaeologist can then develop popularity curves to determine the sequence.
A main reference point on the site that is permanent. All angles and distances are then made in reference to that datum. This allows for continuity and some form of standardization among archaeologist working in the same site or at different periods of time. This allows a grid to be established and organize where artifacts are found and start to map out the site.
Electronic/optical instrument used in modern surveying which combines the ability to measure a position horizontally and vertically at the same time. Field maps are then created using this data-which allows archaeologist to be organized and label each section of their site.
When deciding where to dig, magnetometers detect magnetic differences in the soil under the ground. It is essentially a "sensitive metal detector". The major benefit is that it saves so much time for archaeologist and is breakthrough technology in the field.
When deciding where to dig, electrical resistivity detects different levels of electrical resistance in the soil bellow the ground. This creates an image or images, which allows an archaeologist to get an understanding of what their site may contain, or where to start excavating.
Ground Penetrating Radar
When deciding where to dig, GPR uses echo techniques to essentially create a 3D movie of sliced images at different layers bellow a site. This is incredibly useful in saving time for archaeologist and see what is bellow the ground before digging (or at least having a sense of what is there).
When deciding where to dig in a site, auger test use drill-like tools that take small samples or columns out of the ground. This provides a profile of the soil and is helpful in testing the depths of deposits or retrieving material for further analysis. It can go through different strata layers, which can provide a preview of different areas of your site, and types of soil/deposits.
This is sterile soil, bottom of the cultural layers where archaeologist stop digging. Subsoil's share the characteristics of containing no evidence of human occupation. This is something to note because archaeologist could just keep digging an digging which is inefficient and a waste of time.
A method used in the recovery of plants and animal remains from sites. An archaeologist will place some soil in water and gently agitate the water. Lightweight botanical remains (even charred remains) "float" to the top and are filtered to a thin screen and heavy objects sink. A very special way to get remains that otherwise would be lost- provides a way to gather more ecofacts and other articafts.
A quality or feature regarded as a characteristic used to describe artifacts. Attributes can be color, size, material, function or morphology...ect. They help categorize and answer research questions. Changes in attributes can reveal important cultural /technological changes. They can also indicate styles and time periods. (Record attributes both qualitatively and quantitatively).
A classification according to certain attributes or features, which could be used for relative dating. For example, when looking at pottery, archeologist can use shape, size, color, material ect... to separate and organize the artifacts. By doing so, an archaeologist could identify a style of pot to belong to a certain region or group of people. If a new piece of pottery is found with this same style, the typology can give insight into its time period or trade patterns.
A hunting spear like tool that uses a persons leverage to throw the spear far distances with great strength. A change in the point that is used for the atlatl showed important cultural and technological changes to the bow and arrow.
In archaeology a hammer stone is a hard cobble used in percussion flaking to strike off lithic flaked from a core stone. This stone must be very resistant to flaking, and its use was of critical importance for the development of tools before metalwork.
Bulb of percussion
In flint making, a bulb left on the surface of a flake directly below the point of impact on the striking platform (on the flake). Typically, this does not form naturally and therefore if found on a flake, it is possible to distinguish human workmanship from natural breakage.
This is a portion of rock removed from the original rock (core) by percussion or pressure flaking. These flakes can then be worked on again to make tools such as arrows or knife like objects.
In flint making, percussion flaking is a method of forming a flint tool by striking flakes from a core stone with a hammer stone. This is used to produce a general form for an object and remove large flakes.
In flint making, pressure flaking is a method of trimming the edge of a stone tool by removing small flakes. This is detailed work, which involves a great amount of control. Spear ends and small knifes are examples of how pressure flaking is used to produce detailed, sharp objects.
A ground stone is a category of stone tool formed by the grinding of a coarse-grained toll stone. Hammer stones are a type of groundstone, and it is important that they be made of material that is able to withstand hard blows and not flake off. People used them for cooking and mashing food, as well as the creation of tools.
The extraction of metals from their ores and creating useful metal objects. Metals allowed for the development of tools and advancements. Ores, the impure forms require heating up and melting to remove impurities and then can be made into tools. Gold and cooper are soft metals and therefore don't need to be heated to be hammered and made into tools. Alloys are combinations of metals and cooper and tin/arsenic were found in China. Because copper oxidizes it helps preserve organic materials
A small pointed tool often used for piercing holes, especially in leather. Can also be part of the manufacturing of clothing, which gives us insight into the production of clothing, and the development of society
When analyzing artifacts, it is important to find out where the source material for making them came from. Many natural inorganic materials used by past people contain unique chemical compositions. Geochemical sourcing uses this knowledge and if a chemical composition of an artifact can be determined, then it can be compared with known sources of the material. In this way, archaeologist can trace artifacts to specific sources, which helps use trace trade patterns and migration patterns.
When looking at an artifact, analyzing the ware of it could give hints to the function of the object and what people used it for. Archaeologist can use experimental archaeology to test out their theories of function. By replicating the artifact and then using it in the theorized function, an archaeologist can compare the use/wear of the original to the replication. This is significant because it allows us to identify what things were used for.
Upper Saratown site
An archeological site in North Carolina where archaeologist were able to reconstruct changes through time. They saw burial sites shifting from near home, to a concentrated area outside the city wall-a new form cemetery. Archaeologist looked at the rebuilding of palisades and homes, and how this period of contact and time of violence shifted the demographics of these people.
An important piece of legislation that effectively gave Native Americans their ancestors back. Archaeologist analyzed Native American collections and then gave them back. Essentially there was a lot of grave digging happening and abusing the Native Americans and with this legislation it started to develop a partnership between archaeologist and Native Americans, which is more beneficial.
A disc that is fitted onto the spindle to increase and maintain the speed of the spin. It is used to make thread and then woven into clothing. This is important because if archaeologist find this artifact, it allows them to better understand the production of clothing and other clothed goods. Different sizes of spindle whorl gives us insight into different material used which gives information to the textile industry.
This is the top opening of a pot. If an archaeologist has a portion of a top, a computer-programing device can give an estimate to the size of the pot. This is great for archaeologist because rarely do they find full pots, or all the pieces to a broken pot. The size can also tell us about the pots function, if it is wide, maybe it was used for a big stew like pot, and if small for serving.
A primary forming technique for producing pottery vessels, by which ropelike cylinders of the body are gradually added along the circumference of the vessel. This was done before the pottery wheel and gives insight into the process of producing pottery.
This is the dating technique of comparing artifacts to one another in a sequence of younger to older. There is no tie to a measured time, but instead it is tied to the sequencing of events or materials relative to another. Archaeologist can use relative dating using the law of superposition. This states that material closer to the surface is younger than material found in deeper levels of stratigraphy. Seriation is a relative dating method in archaeology in which artifacts from numerous sites, in the same culture are placed in chronological order. Artifacts or features are organized into a sequence according to changes over time in their attributes or frequency of appearance.
This is a dating technique also known as tree-ring dating which can date up until 12 kya. First we must know that trees grow a ring every year, growth depends on environment and this produces a virtual fingerprint (trees of the same species in the same area will be the same for a period of time). This was amazing because we could date from the present to 12kya, and early time chronology was not possible before. This technique shows how these items have changed over time and it is a way to establish chronology. However, carbon dating can only be used 300-50,000 bp and so there is a disconnect of time between the C-14 dating and dendrochronology.
This is a type of radiometric dating that works with fired clay. When clay is first fired, all electrons are released from the clay (time zero). As time goes on, electrons get trapped into the clay—so the clock starts at zero electrons and electrons build up from there. Archaeologist then measure the light bean produced by an artifact, which can date up until 100,000 years ago. This is a great technique to use when a site is too old or too recent for C-14 dating
This is a dating technique that monitors the decay of potassium into argon. Archaeologists look at the ratio of potassium to argon particles in a rock. When the rock is melted, argon is driven off and the radiometric clock is re-set. Volcanic rock is most useful and dating last metamorphosis of the rock. There are three assumptions that must be made with doing this type of dating. First, there must be no argon trapped in the rock at time of formation. Secondly, all argon present must result from potassium decay and third all argon must stay in the rock (cannot be absorbed into the atmosphere). This method is able to date incredibly far back (1.3 billions years) which helped us find the first evidence of people walking on two feet about 3.5 mya.
This is chronometric dating technique that is based on the difference in the earth's changing magnetism (up to 30 kya). Essentially magnetic north changes through time, and an archaeologist can look at a burned hearth, and measure the difference between the magnetic earth today and how the hearth particles are aligned. This provides a means to date hearths, kilns, burned floors...ect. Another great thing about this technique is that it is relatively simple in that you need a compass and a computer program, making it an accessible.
This technique of dating, uses artifacts found with a date to determine that the date AFTER which the artifact was made (it determines the earliest something could happen). For example if a penny is found in a burial site with a time stamp of 2001, we can say the burial occurred sometime after 2001, but we cannot give an absolute time.