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Archaeology Test 2
Terms in this set (88)
The time and space setting of an artifact, feature or culture.
Primary: Everything is where it was left. Secondary: Things have been moved from their original context
Using geological principles and techniques to answer archaeological questions
the study of the physical features of the surface of the earth
study of sedimentary layers
study of soils
Solid organic or inorganic particles made from weathered bedrock (or a few other things)
a sediment formed at or near its place of deposition from dissolved materials that precipitate from water
Volcanoes, Solid particles, Ash and dust
Gravity (mass wasting)
In place weathering profiles developed by in place physical and chemical alteration of pre-existing sediments
the study of soil
Vertical sequence of distinctive horizontal horizons created by in place weathering and alteration of stable sediments
Ancient soil preserved in the stratigraphic record
Period when previously deposited sediments and adjacent soils are removed by a geomorphic process (e.g. flowing water, wind
(soil formation)-surface for people
Process in which sediment is laid down in new locations.
Law of superposition
The geologic principle that states that in horizontal layers of sedimentary rock, each layer is older than the layer above it and younger than the layer below it.
the disturbance of sedimentary deposits by living organisms.
Heave artifacts to surface, Change orientation, Permafrost.
A natural formation process in which artifacts are moved downslope through gravity, sometimes assisted by precipitation runoff.
the bending, tilting, and breaking of Earth's crust; the change in the shape of rock in response to stress
A natural formation process in which wet/dry cycles in clay-rich soils push artifacts upward as the sediment swells and then moves them down as cracks form during dry cycles.
physical material (sediments and soils) surrounding all artifacts/features/ Eco facts
No significant breaks in deposition, no erosion.
simultaneous but distinct sedimentary deposits. When they come in contact, the interfinger.
Break in strata either due to long period of stability (soil formation) or a period of erosion
Removal of upper soil horizons, can truncate multiple strata (erosion)
dating of stratigraphy using relative or absolute methods.
Artifacts in association were buried together
Sequence Comparison a.k.a. Cross Dating
similarities in typologies/sequences reflects similarity in culture/age
Technique of ordering artifacts in a series, assumption that one cultural style slowly replaces another over time.
Stylistic vs. Frequency seriation
Stylistic: Technique to order artifacts and attributes according to similarity of style. Frequency: Changes in frequency of multiple artifact types at a site (dating through depth).
the correlation between environmental effects on two different traits.
Absolute vs. Relative Dating
Absolute: calendar, -Radiocarbon, -Dendrochronology, -Historical chronology, -OSL, -Various other methods
Relative: dates expressed relative to one another, -Stratigraphy, -Association, -Typological sequences, -Seriation
Direct dating vs. Indirect dating
Direct: uses direct dating to get calendar years. Indirect: dates expresses relative to one another.
Based on the cumulative absorption of water into obsidian over time
Time range: varies
Need accurate records of years
List of rulers needs to be complete
Need to link lists to our calendar
Archaeology still needs to be linked to chronology
Terminus post quem
Date after which artifact with a calendar date found in archaeological context was deposited after it was made.
Annual growth ring of trees correlated through time
Bone chemistry dating
overtime, bone absorbs fluorine and uranium and loses nitrogen (Piltdown Man)
After 5570 years, only ½ original amount of 14C
Ca 50,000 BP-1950 AD
Most important for modern archaeology
Very low standard deviation (high precision)
Datable materials- Organics
Potassium-Argon and Argon-Argon
200,000 BP- 4billion?
Best way to date paleontology?
Based on radioactive breakdown of Ar-39 to Ar-40 or K-40 to Ar-40
Rock must be/have been melted
Dating rock, not artifacts
Huge standard deviation
Uranium series dating
A dating method based on the radioactive decay of isotopes of uranium. It has proved particularly useful for the period before 50,000 years ago, which lies outside the time range of radiocarbon dating. Dates travertine (CaCO3)
Caves and rock shelters
Bounding age of artifacts
Relatively small standard deviation (100s-1000s)
Can also be used on teeth
Optically Stimulated Luminescence dating
Ca. 0-100,000 BP (theoretically)
Quartz sand grains
Sunlight exposure, burial
Can be used with no organics!
Big standard deviations (+/- 1000)
an absolute dating method based on the measurement of the number of tracks left by the decay of uranium-238. • Time Range, Ca 100,000-1mya, Radiation damage from U-238
Requires heating (pottery, hearth, glass)
the study and interpretation of the signatures of the Earth's magnetic field at past times recorded in archaeological materials. Molten rocks or hearths...
Uses fluctuations of magnetic north
Used in SW and in hominid sites
Problems-big deviations, need careful recording
Assuming genetic mutation rates, look at appearance of new genetic categories
Uses living humans (or other animals)
Evolution and migration
Is still being developed
Large age estimates, changing as refine science
Ice Free Corridor
space between two ice sheets covering most of Canada during the last ice age, providing a possible route from Beringia to areas south.
Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets
Laurentide Ice Sheet (east), Cordilleran Ice Sheet (west)
Bering Land Bridge/Beringia
The conformation of a strait between Asia and North America fueled an interest in the possibility of a wide plain that might have connected the two continents
Illicit and often illegal digging of sites by non-archaeologists
Cultural Resource Management (CRM)
Archaeology conducted as part of the environmental clearance process for development.
3 parts of an artifact's context
Its immediate matrix, Its provenience, Its association with other material culture
3 parts of a site's context
Its immediate position on the landscape, Its provenience (the location of the entire artifact assemblage within the stratigraphy of the landscape), Its association with other archaeological sites
Understand fundamental difference between primary/secondary context, why this matters to archaeologists.
Primary- everything is where it was left. Secondary- things have been moved from their original context.
Natural vs. Cultural site formation
Natural processes (before/during/after burial). Purview of archeological research questions
4 key elements of natural site formation
Know the difference between site scale and regional scale geoarch questions
How have deposits accumulated? (both culturally and naturally)
What age are the deposits
How have they been altered after deposition?
How has this affected the cultural record?
Where are deposits of this age found?
What are the ages of all geological deposits in the area?
What was the environment like at time?
How has it changed to present conditions?
How has this affected archaeological site preservation?
4 types of sediment
1. Solid Particles-Clastic sediments
2. Precipitates-Chemical sediments
3. Organic matter-carbonaceous or organic sediments
4. Volcanic-Pyroclastic sediments
Physical vs. chemical weathering and examples of deposits for each
chemical weathering-dissolving minerals into a solution, acidic rain
4 characteristics to recognize when defining a soil
Texture, Soil structure, Color, Chemical change
Know each of the 5 master soil horizons mentioned in class
Sediments and decayed organics; "Topsoil"
Zone of Maximum Alteration (clay, CaCO3)
Unaltered Parent Material
Know the names and rough time-ranges for the major time periods applicable to humans and hominids
Cenezoic Era- 65.6 mya to present, Quaternary Period- 2.6mya to present, Pleistocene Epoch- 2.6 mya to 12 kya, Holocene Epoch- 12kya to present
Know three ways landscapes change over time, be able to identify in a stratigraphic profile (what would you look for?)-
Deposits (sediment aggradation), Stability (soil formation), Erosion (degradation)
Why is stratigraphy important
Time and space framework of site, Reconstructions of environment before during and after human use of site.
Know two types of bioturbation, 6 types of other post-burial disturbances
faunalturbation and floralturbation. Cryoturbation, graviturbation, solifluction, deformation, agrilliturbation, human disturbance.
How does energy of flow affect particle size?-
Large particle size-more energy
What depositional environments preserve /destroy primary context at sites?
Two types of unconformity, define.
erosion unconformity-Removal of upper soil horizons, can truncate multiple strata (erosion)
Know the basic concepts of Chronological Hygiene discussed in class-
Not all dates are created equal! What are some ways to ensure your dates are reliable?
1. Avoid carbon contamination (roots, coal, bone, collagen)-Conventional radiocarbon problem
2. Use multiple samples, multiple sources of date.
3. Be transparent with data/how dates acquired
4. Be sure your sample= human activity
5. Have multiple overlapping dates
6. Date large objects likely to move
At the time of their discovery, significance of Folsom and Blackwater Draw sites
Folsom: Establishes criteria for accepting early sites: human made, good context, dated. Blackwater Draw: Discovery of first site with distinctive Clovis style points
3 early criteria for accepting early sites as determined after Blackwater Draw
Human made, good context, dated.
Clovis First theory and its basic assumptions
Clovis-point using people were the first migrants to enter the Americas
Originated from Northeast Asia
Lower sea level in Pleistocene (!90m)
Entered the Americas by crossing the Bering Land Bridge and passing through the Ice Free Corridor around 13,600 cal B.P.
What lines of evidence discredit Clovis First
Migration from northeast Asia via boats along northwest coast most likely path of first migration
-Ice-free corridor used for backwards flow of fluted points back to north. Recent analysis of ancient DNA from skeletal remains. People were in the Americas by 15,000 cal yr BP, widespread, biface, technologies. Early populations were very low, western stem style points and other basic tools.
Clovis and Pre-Clovis, general ages and associated tool assemblages
Extinctions cluster 13,000 BP- entry of Clovis. biface with overshot and end-thinning, diagnostic Clovis point. Pre-Clovis: 15-16k cal BP
Monte Verde site - location and significance to pre-Clovis archaeology
Tom Dillehey: 14,800 cal BP
Wooden and bone structures
Stakes, cordage, coprolites, quids, hides, pits
First widely accepted pre Clovis site.
Coastal route vs. Ice Free Corridor: compare contrast, recent evidence in favor of former
Coastal route: Travel along Pacific coast, which was open by 16,000 cal BP. Explains rapid expansion and lack of early site. Ice Free Corridor: area of land, or a passageway between ice sheets on the east side of the Rocky Mountains. This land was ice free.
What are the possible theories for the extinction of Pleistocene megafauna in North America? Problems? What is most likely?-
Human-Overkill, Climate change, Disease, Comet. composite hypothesis: early arrival of humans combined with ecological and environmental stresses.
Three major causes of cultural heritage destruction, how archaeologists should respond
Looting, building, politics.
How War, Colonialism, and Nationalism affect cultural heritage
War: Collateral Damage
Intentional destruction of emblems valued by "the enemy"
- Material culture strengthens cultural and national identity and heritage.
Colonialism: Minimizing contributions to past of colonized to justify subjugation
-Ex. Mound builders
Why archaeology is relevant
Warfare-causes and ways to prevent is
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