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40 terms

Midterm 1 Important Archaeological Principles

STUDY
PLAY
Prehistoric Archaeology
Archaeological study of the past before written records begin
Classical archaeology
Archaeological study of Ancient Greece and Rome
Egyptology
Archaeological study of Ancient Egypt
Near East Studies
Archaeological study of the Middle East, generally the maximum area encompassed by the Ottoman Empire
Historic/Post-Medieval Archaeology
Archaeological study of the material past over the last 500 years
Ethno Archaeology
Ethnographic study of peoples for archaeological purposes
Nautical Archaeology
Discipline of archaeology that specifically studies human interaction with the sea
Stylistic attributes
Usually involve the most obvious descriptive characteristics of an artifact believed to reflect choices of its maker
Stylistic attributes
-Color
-Texture
-Decoration
-Alterations
Form attributes
Includes overall 3-dimensional shape of the artifact and aspects of that shape
Form attributes
-Measurable dimensions/metric attributes
•Length
•Width
•Thickness
•Weight
Technological attributes
-Include the characteristics of the raw materials used to make artifacts (constituent attributes)
-Any other traits that reflect the manufacturing process
Constituent attributes
Characteristics of the raw materials used to make the artifact
Formulation, Implementation, Data Gathering & Processing, Analysis, Interpretation, Publication
Research Process
Formulation
Hypothesizing
Data Gathering and Processing
-Surface collection
-Excavation
•Penetrating
•Clearing
-Mapping
-Survey, Excavation, and Lab
Publication
-Publication of all primary data
-Publication of results of data analysis
-Publication of their interpretation of said data
Stratigraphy
Study of rock/sediment layers
Law of Superposition
Sedimentary layers are deposited in a time sequence, with the oldest on the bottom and the youngest on the top
Uniformitarianism
The assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operate in the universe now have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe
Harris Matrix
Each stratigraphic layer (stratification) is assigned a letter. The layers are arranged in a vertical tree, with the bottom-most (oldest) layers appearing on the bottom of the tree, and subsequently higher (newer) layers moving vertically upwards. Concurrent layers are arranged horizontally to each other.
To reveal the form of the past; to discover function; to understand culture processes; to understand the process by which similar political, social, and behavioral changes occur through time and space; to preserve, manage, and administer global heritage resources
Goals of archaeological research
Seriation (indirect)
Dating technique in which artifacts or other data are ordered chronologically according to stylistic similarities or frequency of appearance
Radiometric dating (direct)
Dating of an object based on observed abundance of naturally occurring isotopes and its decay products using known decay rates
Radiometric dating (direct)
Includes radiocarbon and K-Ar dating
Fluorine Dating (direct, relative)
-Dating the period an artifact has been underground by the amount of fluoride ions that has been absorbed
-Relatively impractical method of dating
Dendrochronology (indirect)
Method of dating based on the analysis of patterns of tree-rings
Archaeomagnetism (direct)
Dating using the study and interpretation of the signatures of Earth's magnetic fields at past times recorded in archaeological materials
Thermoluminescence (direct)
Dating technique in which levels of accumulated radiation since the archaeological material was last heated or exposed to sunlight
Vertical Excavation
Strengths:
-Understand the total occupational sequence of a site (Diachronic)
-Recover representative cultural materials for different periods of occupation
-Understand preservation conditions for all periods of occupations
Vertical Excavation
Weaknesses:
-Not able to understand detailed temporal relationship between structures
-Not able to understand temporal relationships for the entire site
Horizontal (Clearing) Excavation
Strengths:
-Understand the relationships of features, structures, and houses from a single occupation (Synchronic)
-Recover representative cultural materials from a single period
-Understand the social, economic, and political relationships within communities
Horizontal (Clearing) Excavation
Weaknesses:
-Not able to understand total occupational history of site
-In general, excavation limited to the last major occupation of a site
-Excavations are much slower compared to vertical excavations
Artifact
Any portable object made, used, or modified by humans
Ecofact
An object found at an archaeological site that has been previously unhanded by humans
Ex.: Seed
Feature
A collection of one or more contexts representing some human, non-portable activity that generally has a vertical characteristic relative to site stratigraphy
Assemblage
A group of different artifacts found in association with one another (within the same context)
Subassemblage
Association of artifacts denoting a particular form of prehistoric activity practiced by a group of people
Activity area
A patterning of artifacts in a site, indicating that a specific set of tasks or operations took place there
Looting, Warfare/Colonialism, Construction
Causes of archaeological site destruction