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Terms in this set (89)

Archaeology is the study of the human past, combining the themes of time and change.

Change
• Change can occur through both biological and cultural processes.
• Most of the evolution of life on earth is characterized by biological evolution.
• Culture is a means of human adaptation based upon experience, learning, and the use of tools.
• Our first several million years of existence were dominated by biological change.
• The transmission of cultural traits occurs more rapidly than biological ones.
• The last one hundred thousand years or so are marked primarily by cultural changes.
• This is the story of archaeology - the search for evidence of our cultural development through time.
• The prehistoric record of our ancestors is characterized by both biological evolution and cultural developments.

Interpretation of Archaeological Information
• The science of archaeology lies in bridging the gap between the information recovered through excavation and the questions being sought.
• Information recovered from the ground does not directly say very much about the past.
• Analysis may provide some basic information.
• However, the questions sought are often much larger.
• The questions that archaeologists seek to ask are highly varied.
• Some may be very specific.
• Some may be much more general.
• Some questions and ideas come from the knowledge of living peoples, derived through ethnographies.
• Explaining human behavior in the past and its changes through time is a major goal of archaeology.
• Archaeological theories and ideas are attempts to explain what took place in the past.
• What makes archaeology a science is its rigorous testing or evaluation of answers to questions being asked.
• Archaeologists ask questions about past societies that involve concepts of technology, economy, organization, and ideology.
• Technology is the manner in which people convert natural resources into products they need or want.
• Economy is a broad topic that involves how people obtain foods, materials, and goods to sustain their lives.
• Organization refers to the roles and relationships in society on a variety of levels.
• Ideology refers to the means by which people structure their ideas about the universe, their place in that universe, and their relationships with one another.
Pleistocene -
• By the end of the Pleistocene, humans were major large-game hunters.
• Human ancestors moved out of Africa about 2 m.y.a., at the beginning of the Pleistocene.
• As hominids moved into Asia and Europe, they encountered cooler climate conditions.
• Expansion out of the tropics required new skills and inventions for surviving in different environments.
• The first reliable evidence of controlled use of fire, systematic hunting, and the use of wooden spears appeared during this time.
• Change in stone tools appeared with the emergence of the handaxe.
• The earliest Homo erectus fossil comes from Kenya and dates to 1.8 m.y.a.
• Homo erectus individuals were robust, with large bones and teeth, larger bodies, and significantly larger brains than their Homo habilis ancestors.
• Homo erectus had brains that were about 1,000 cc.
• They had low, sloping foreheads, prominent brow ridges, and protruding faces.
• Homo erectus individuals were almost fully modern in terms of movement and locomotion.
• Several Homo erectus have been dated to just after 2.0 m.y.a.
• These early dates suggest that Homo erectus may have spread very quickly across Asia following their initial appearance in Africa.
• The earliest dates for humans in Europe are younger than 1 m.y.a.
• Homo erectus was eventually replaced by Homo sapiens about 100,000 years ago.

Climate and the Environment in the Pleistocene
• The Pleistocene was characterized by active volcanoes and cooling temperatures.
• This epoch had at least nine glacial periods.
• Temperatures from the past can be determined by measuring levels of oxygen isotopes found in glacial ice on Greenland.
• One consequence of reduced temperatures was the spreading of glaciers over large portions of the continents.
• While today only 10% of the land surface of the earth is covered by glaciers, ice during glacial periods may have covered 30% of the surface.
• In North America, ice masses extended as far south as St. Louis.
• The weight of the ice forced land masses to sink.
• Global sea levels were reduced by as much as 300-500 feet.
• The causes of the Pleistocene climate change have been debated for years.
• Some have suggested that the rise of the Himalayas and the Rocky Mountains resulted in a global disruption of weather patterns.
• Variations in the earth's orbit have also been proposed as potential causes.

Pleistocene Mammals
• A number of modern mammals appeared during the Pleistocene, while others went extinct.
• Many mammalian species were much larger than their modern equivalents.
• The bones of these animals from archaeological sites give some indication of the species that were present in different parts of Europe.

• Major changes in human behavior took place toward the end of the Pleistocene.
• Our ancestors began to exhibit behaviors that were more than just practical activities.
• In the Middle Pleistocene, burial of the dead, cannibalism, and nurturing of the weak and elderly took place.
• By the end of the Pleistocene, Homo sapiens had created art, invented many new tools, made tailored clothing, started counting, and expanded to almost all parts of the world.
• The earliest fully modern humans have been found in East and South Africa.
• The earliest known example is from southwest Ethiopia and dates to almost 200,000 years ago.
• Beginning around 50,000 years ago, fully modern humans replaced Neanderthals in western Asia and then in Europe.
• Around 40,000 years ago, modern humans spread into Australia and New Guinea.
• Perhaps 15,000 years ago, humans entered the Americas.

• Studies have shown that the pattern of lateralization in fossil endocasts goes back well into the Pleistocene and probably to australopithecines.
• Mammoths were formidable prey for late Pleistocene hunters in Europe, being fifty percent larger than modern African elephants.•

During the colder intervals of the Pleistocene, when global sea levels were much lower, the floor of the strait became dry land.

Pleistocene Extinction
• By the end of the Pleistocene, about 35 species of land mammals, nearly half the total number, became extinct in North America.
• Many of the animals were large carnivores and herbivores that had been around for over two million years.
• A similar, though not as complete, pattern of extinction in large mammals occurred in Europe and Asia.
• Two explanations for the extinctions have been proposed.
• One explanation is that humans caused the extinctions by overhunting.
• Similar climatic changes during earlier interglacials did not result in the extinction of many species.
• The widespread appearance of Clovis hunters around 11,000 years ago coincides closely with the demise of several extinct species.
• Another explanation is that climate change caused the extinctions.
• Certain extinct species were never found at kill sites.
• Other nonmammalian species went extinct at the end of the Pleistocene, such as 45% of bird species in North America.
• Evidence of increasing aridity at the end of the Pleistocene argues against the role of human hunters as the sole factor in the extinctions.
Aurignacean -
- bone became a common material for human use, modification and decoration
- "Venus figurines" - small figures of women with exaggerated characteristics
- carved bone and antler figurines of both humans and animals began to appear in the archaeological record

Gravettian -
Duration: 28-21 ky ago.
Stone tools: "Marked especially by numerous small, narrow, parallel-edged, often pointed, steeply backed blades. In western Europe later Gravettian people made characteristic tanged or stemmed points, while their central and eastern European contemporaries produced shouldered (or highly asymmetric stemmed) forms" (Klein 1999: 526-7). Bone tools included "'awls,' 'punches,' and other presumably domestic implements" (527).
Social: Shell exchange up to 1,000 km; flint exchange (50-100 km common); possible women shaman (e.g. Dolní Věstonice).
Art: The early Gravettian seems to continue on from the end of the Aurignacian, though it begins to display "good animal profiles, with a sinuous neck/back, often an elongated head, an oval eye, and twisted perspective, but with the extremities rarely depicted" (Bahn and Vertut 1997: 69). Whereas Aurignacian artisans produced very detailed animal paintings in Chauvet, the Gravettians seem to be much less skilled in their contributions there, or at least unconcerned with the same level of detail. Yanik Le Guillou (2005) observes that several crude engravings cannot easily "be integrated into the cave's homogenous Aurignacian universe" (105), and are probably Gravettian in origin. Venus figurines are often attributed to the Gravettian, but considering the somewhat haphazard excavation techniques employed when many of these figures were recovered, it's difficult to say that with absolute certainty. Again, parietal art was thought to have been confined to daylight zones.
Notable sites: Cosquer; Cougnac; Cussac; Chauvet Pont-d'Arc; Les Fieux, Gargas; Isturitz and Oxocelhaya; Pech-Merle; Valhonneur.

Solutrean -

Symbols and Notation
• Some of the decorated objects from the Upper Paleolithic share motifs that often occur together, suggesting that specific concepts were being depicted.
• A bone knife from a French site has various markings that convey images of spring and fall.
• Some artifacts have markings which suggest some sort of tally was being kept.
• Another bone object from France has markings that appear to record the phases of the moon.


Magdalenian
- last stage of the upper paleolithic
- most prehistoric art comes from this stage
- objects with a short life were decorated in a cursory fashion, whereas more important pieces with a longer life expectancy were heavily ornamented
-spearthrowers were decorated elaboratley with carved animals
- engraved bone was common, body adornments, necklaces, bracelets
• Australopithecus afarensis evolved from early human ancestors.
• From Australopithecus afarensis evolved more robust australopithecines with large teeth and jaws for processing plant foods.

A. anamensis evolved into Australopithecus afarensis, well known from Hadar, Laetoli, and elsewhere in East Africa
-exhibits more humanlike teeth and unquestionably walked upright, as seen in the footprints at LAetoli and in the fossil bones themselves

• Early human ancestors diversified, with some becoming more human-like.
• Australopithecus afarensis evolved from early human ancestors.
• From Australopithecus afarensis evolved more robust australopithecines with large teeth and jaws for processing plant foods.
• Homo habilis, the first member of our own genus, emerged about 2.5 m.y.a.
• Homo habilis eventually led to the emergence of modern humans.
• Homo erectus evolved from Homo habilis about 1.9 m.y.a.
• Homo erectus was the first human form to leave Africa.
• Homo heidelbergensis evolved from Homo erectus around 600,000 years ago.
• At some point after 200,000 years ago, Homo sapiens began to appear.

Australopithecus afarensis is one of the longest-lived and best-known early human species—paleoanthropologists have uncovered remains from more than 300 individuals! Found between 3.85 and 2.95 million years ago in Eastern Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania), this species survived for more than 900,000 years, which is over four times as long as our own species has been around. It is best known from the sites of Hadar, Ethiopia ('Lucy', AL 288-1 and the 'First Family', AL 333); Dikika, Ethiopia (Dikika 'child' skeleton); and Laetoli (fossils of this species plus the oldest documented bipedal footprint trails).

Similar to chimpanzees, Au. afarensis children grew rapidly after birth and reached adulthood earlier than modern humans. This meant A. afarensis had a shorter period of growing up than modern humans have today, leaving them less time for parental guidance and socialization during childhood.

Au. afarensis had both ape and human characteristics: members of this species had apelike face proportions (a flat nose, a strongly projecting lower jaw) and braincase (with a small brain, usually less than 500 cubic centimeters -- about 1/3 the size of a modern human brain), and long, strong arms with curved fingers adapted for climbing trees. They also had small canine teeth like all other early humans, and a body that stood on two legs and regularly walked upright. Their adaptations for living both in the trees and on the ground helped them survive for almost a million years as climate and environments changed.
• Reduced sexual dimorphism in Homo erectus suggests a more monogamous lifestyle compared to apes.
• Homo erectus evolved from Homo habilis about 1.9 m.y.a.
• Homo erectus was the first human form to leave Africa.
• Homo heidelbergensis evolved from Homo erectus around 600,000 years ago
• Change in stone tools appeared with the emergence of the handaxe.
• The earliest Homo erectus fossil comes from Kenya and dates to 1.8 m.y.a.
• Homo erectus individuals were robust, with large bones and teeth, larger bodies, and significantly larger brains than their Homo habilis ancestors.
• Homo erectus had brains that were about 1,000 cc.
• They had low, sloping foreheads, prominent brow ridges, and protruding faces.
• Homo erectus individuals were almost fully modern in terms of movement and locomotion.
• Several Homo erectus have been dated to just after 2.0 m.y.a.
• These early dates suggest that Homo erectus may have spread very quickly across Asia following their initial appearance in Africa.
• The earliest dates for humans in Europe are younger than 1 m.y.a.
• Homo erectus was eventually replaced by Homo sapiens about 100,000 years ago.
• Indications of cannibalism were found among the Homo erectus remains.
• The reliance on meat perhaps led to changes in the family structure of Homo erectus.
• A sexual division of labor may have developed, with males hunting and females gathering while caring for young.
• Almost certainly, some form of proto-family emerged among Homo erectus populations, if not earlier.
• As Homo erectus and australopithecines were accepted into the family tree, Neanderthals have come to be recognized as being closer to modern humans.
The Klasies River Mouth Caves
• The caves at the mouth of the Klasies River were a place of human residence between 120,000 and 60,000 years ago.
• The river empties into the Indian Ocean in South Africa.
• Occupation remains were so heavy that, in one of the caves, the accumulated debris had completely buried the opening of another, lower cave.
• The site offered shelter, a moderate climate, availability of marine foods, nearby fresh water, access to mammals living along the river, and stones for toolmaking.
• Excavations have revealed a number of pieces of evidence of major importance for understanding Old World prehistory.
• Fully modern humans appeared at the site around 100,000 years ago.
• The remains suggest that cannibalism occurred.
• A wide range of animal species was present.
• The site also records the early use of marine foods.
• Comparison of the remains of two animal species suggests that the inhabitants of Klasies River Mouth Caves were not particularly good hunters.
• Eland, which can be driven into traps or falls by hunters, are represented by a catastrophic pattern of death.
• Cape buffalo were more dangerous and the high proportion of young was likely the result of selective hunting.
• There was a higher number of elands at the site, even though the species is less common than buffalo in the environment.
• Comparing the information with a younger site at Nelson Bay Cave, which had few eland remains, suggests that later groups were better hunters.
• Others have suggested that the people of the Middle and Late Stone Age were behaviorally similar.
• Examination of shell middens suggests that people were living by the same rules for the use of space in both the Middle and Late Stone Age.
• Evidence from the remains of plant foods leads to a similar conclusion.
• The Middle Paleolithic is associated with the Neanderthals and other forms of early Homo sapiens.
• Beginning around 50,000 years ago, fully modern humans replaced Neanderthals in western Asia and then in Europe.

The Valley of the Neanderthals
• The first Neanderthal was found in 1856 in a limestone cave in the Valley of the Neander River, near Düsseldorf, Germany.
• Prior to this discovery, there had been no acceptance of human forms earlier than Homo sapiens.
• Gradually, more examples of these individuals came to light.
• In 1913, Marcellin Boule published a study of a Neanderthal, designating them as Homo neanderthalensis, suggesting that they were somewhere between ape and human.
• As Homo erectus and australopithecines were accepted into the family tree, Neanderthals have come to be recognized as being closer to modern humans.
• Neanderthals are recognized by several distinctive features.
• They were short and stocky with powerful physiques.
• The robust appearance may be related to strength and endurance requirements or adaptations to the cold environments where they lived.
• The have a relatively low cranium, prominent brow ridges, large faces, and brains larger than modern humans.
• The front teeth were heavily worn, suggesting that they were used for grasping or heavy chewing.
• Several cultural innovations characterize Neanderthal populations.
• They are generally associated with Mousterian artifacts.
• Neanderthals were large game hunters.
• Intentional burial of the dead occurred.
• Cannibalism appears to have occurred among Neanderthals.

The Fate of the Neanderthals
• Between 45,000 and 25,000 years ago, Neanderthals became extinct and were replaced by fully modern humans.
• There is a debate as to whether Neanderthals were completely replaced by fully modern humans, or if they inbred and simply disappeared in the mix.
• Neanderthals and humans coexisted in the Near East until about 45,000 years ago.
• In Europe, modern humans did not appear until after 45,000 years ago.
• The replacement of Neanderthals by humans in Europe started about 45,000 and years ago and may have occurred quickly.
• The question of the fate of Neanderthals remains unsolved, with several possibilities having been suggested.
• One possibility is that Neanderthals were conquered by humans, although evidence from artifacts does not appear to support that view.
• Two recent discoveries of human skeletal material suggest some interbreeding of Neanderthals.
• There is genetic evidence to the contrary based upon ancient DNA, which shows little genetic relationship between Neanderthals and humans.
The Cave of Lascaux
• The cave of Lascaux in southwestern France was discovered by chance in 1940.
• The cave had been sealed for perhaps 15,000 years.
• The cave contains the most important collection of Upper Paleolithic art in the world.
• Cave painting is a category of Upper Paleolithic art called mural art.
• Mural art is primarily found deep inside caves in France and Spain.
• The cave interiors were not living areas and were only briefly visited by the artists along with other members of society.
• The paintings are almost exclusively of animals.
• The cave paintings themselves are rendered in outline and often colored in monochrome or polychrome.
• Light and some form of scaffolding would have been needed to paint in the caves.
• The cave art is typically carefully planned and skillfully executed.
• The paintings at Lascaux date to around 17,000 years ago.
• More than 600 paintings and 1,500 engravings are on the walls of the cave.
• The cave is a narrow chamber over 100 yards long.
• There are several schools of thought on the meaning of the cave paintings from the Upper Paleolithic.
• An emphasis on pregnant animals has been interpreted to represent a concern with fertility.
• Some scholars have argued that there was a concern over the hunting of animals for meat.
• Some prehistorians have suggested that the cave paintings were "art for art's sake."
• Others have suggested that the caves were primitive temples.
• More than 200 painted caves have been discovered in France.
• In the last decades, several major new art sites have been revealed.
• The cave of Chauvet, discovered in 1995, is at least five times larger than Lascaux and dates to 36,000 years ago.
• Another important cave, Cosquer, was found underwater by divers off the coast of France, near Marseilles.