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a person who studies the past
, of or relating to antiques or antiquities
, one who collects or studies objects of former times

Culture History

-Normative description of material culture
according to a temporal framework
-Interpretation of behavior in different time
-Provides baseline data
Early years devoted to developing histories before and without
written records
! Nationalistic Origins
! e.g., Nazis and the Aryan "race"
! Focused on:
! The origins of new technologies
! Beginnings of major changes in social life
! First stone tools and the earliest use of fire
! Beginning of farming and introduction of urbanization


An object modified by humans ,
an object made by human beings; often refers to a primitive tool or other relic from an earlier period


are discrete occurrences that represent an
event and that cannot be removed or moved without destroying their overall integrity and relationships -
structures, hearths, posts, underground ovens, burials,
etc. Archaeological Record


culturally modified soil comprised of
discarded material remains from people living at a
site - they are soils that are discolored and are
chemically altered by the materials within them.
(archeology) a mound of domestic refuse containing shells and animal bones marking the site of a prehistoric settlement


The layering of the earth through depositional processes (natural or
, the natural layering of cultural deposits and natural soil layers that build up on a site over a long period of time. These soil layers will often be different in color and texture from each other. The most recent artifacts and features are found closer to the surface, and the oldest deposits are at the bottom.


a principle that states that younger rocks lie above older rocks if the layers have not been disturbed

the geological principle that in any pile of sedimentary rocks that have
not been disturbed, each bed is older than the layers above and younger than the layers

Archaeological record

! The discovery, recording, and decoding of the archaeological
record is fundamental to interpretation of the past
! Analysis of Artifacts, Ecofacts, Features, Sites, and
! Provide information necessary for archaeological interpretation
! An understanding of the processes which result in formation of
the archaeological record plays a vital role in this analysis

-the material remains of the human past and the physical contexts of these remains
-the documentation of artifacts and other material remains, along with their contexts recovered from archaeolgical sites

Scientific method

a method of investigation involving observation and theory to test scientific hypotheses


evidence; information gathered from observations
a collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn


study of contemporary cultures w/a view to understand the behavioral realtionships which underlie the production of material culture


the study of what happens to the remains of an animal from the time of death to the time of discovery

Processualism (New Archaeology)

adaptation is driving force that shapes culture, committed to generalization, limited range of diff. kinds of environ. ppl can live in, Dominant in USA. Adaptation. Generalize. Structural. Employs scientific method. Processualists look at large societies as groups.


-some argue that archaeology has outgrown anthropology and is a distinct and separate science.
-growing populations and urban development jeopardize the non-renewable archaeological record and concern grows over preservation of our past.

Sample universe

The region that contains the statistical population and that will be be sampled. its size and shape are determined by the research question and practical considerations

Archaeological site

A place or location that contains evidence of past human activity. This evidence consists of artifacts and/or features. The type of artifacts and features found vary depending on the kind of site. The size of archaeological sites also varies.

Regional survey

the attempt to systematically locate previously unknown sites in a region
-, Strategies depend on time and $$$. Total coverage not possible.
- Non-probabilistic
- Simple random
- Stratified random
- Systematic
- Others: Stratified systematic or systematic unaligned.

Sample fraction

percentage of sample population to be selected for study

Reconnaissance survey

a type of survey, basically ground survey where you walk the landscape trying to find sites, map and document

Statistical sampling

selecting a random sample of data and applying the characteristics of the sample to the whole group

Sample units

survey units of a standard size and shape, determined by the research question and practical considerations, used to obtain the sample

Statistical population

set of objects about which inferences can be drawn, a set of counts, measurements, or characteristics about which relevant inquiries are to be made

Stratified random sample

a sample in which the population is first divided into similar, nonoverlapping groups. A simple random sample is then selected from each of the groups

Shovel testing

A sample survey method used in regions where rapid soil buildup obscures buried archaeological remains; it entails digging shallow, systematic pits across the survey unit.

Full-coverage survey


Remote sensing

obtaining information about a site by using an instrument that is not physically in contact with the site


several things grouped together or considered as a whole

Geographic information system (GIS)

A computer system that stores, organizes, analyzes, and display geographic data


An artifact's location relative to a system of spatial data collection.

In situ

in its original place, in the original or natural place or site, Confined to one place

Test excavation

A small initial excavation to determine a site's potential for answering a research question.


Charles Lyell's idea that geologic processes have not changed throughout Earth's history., principle that Earth's processes occurring today are similar to those that occurred in the past


an artifact that is one of the individual parts of which a composite entity is made up


A theoretically exact point, axis, or plane derived from the true geometric counterpart of a specific datum feature. The origin from which the location, or geometric characteristic of a part feature, is established.

Natural level

A vertical subdivision of an excavation square that is based on natural breaks in the sediments (in terms of color, grain size, texture, hardness, or other characteristics).

Arbitrary level

the basic vertical subdivision of an excavation square; used only when easily recognizable "natural" strata are lacking and when natural strata are more than 10 cm thick


A layer within the earth's crust that generally consists of the same kinds of soils or rock material.


collection of data to decide whether there is a problem that will require more in-depth assessment; results are usually pass/fail; fail gernerally resulsts in a followup assessment


a method used to recover charred botanical material (wood and seeds) by mixing sediments with water and allowing the charred remains to float to the surface


the field of study that applies the concepts and methods of the geosciences to archaeological research, the study of arch using the methods and concepts of earth science.

Site formation processes

those processes, both cultural and environmental that have altered an archaeological site such as tools lost or discarded , food remains , body hunters ext .

Soil formation

weathering of rock and the accumulation of organic material, a. parent material
b. time
c. climate
d. organisms
e. slope

Reverse stratigraphy

the result when sediment is unearthed by human or natural actions and moved elsewhere in such a way that the latest material is deposited on the bottom of the new sediment and progressively earlier material is deposited higher and higher in the stratigraphy


the relationship artifacts have to each other and the situation in which they are found


an observed relationship between two or more variables, occurrence of an item of archaeological data adjacent to another and in or on the same matrix

Relative dating

method of determining the age of a fossil by comparing its placement with that of fossils in other layers of rock


The process by which organisms rework existing sediments by burrowing through muds and sands., reworking and further degradation of sediment by the action of organisms

Absolute dating

determines actual age. fossil's near by rock contains radioactive elements that break down (decay) into different elements over time. half life of these elements means the time it takes for half of the atoms to decay they compare how much of the radioactive element is in the sample and the amount of the new element, then calculate the age., determine actual age of fossil, compare amount of radioactive element in sample to amount of element into which it breaks down

diagnostic artifacts (Time-markers)

an item that is indicative of a particular time and/or cultural group; a computer would be a diagnostic artifact of modern age


arranging objects in sequential order according to one aspect, such as size, weight, or volume


n. a quality or feature associated with a person or thing


a chronometric dating technique involving the counting of tree rings. Can date wood objects back to about 11kyr

Radiocarbon dating

a chemical analysis used to determine the age of organic materials based on their content of the radioisotope carbon-14


the time required for one half of the atoms of a radioisotope to emit radiation an decay products


a process that uses heat to separate a substance into its components, GIVING RADIATION IN SMALL, REPEATED DOSES.


Any procedure used to evaluate the accuracy of a measurement system and, when sources of error are found, to use that information to correct or improve the measuring system

Reservoir effect

when organisms take in carbon from a source that is depleted of or enriched in C-14 relative to atmostphere; such samples may return ages that are considerably older or younger than they actually are

Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS)

a method of radocarbon dating that counts the proportion of carbon isotopes directly (rather than using the indirect Geiger counter method), thereby dramatically reducing the quantity of datable material required. younger then they actually are. ALLOWS US TO RADIOCARBON-DATE MINUTE AMOUNTS OF CARBON

Old wood problem

a potential problem with radiocarbon (or tree ring) dating in which old wood has been scavenged and reused in a later archaeological site; the resulting date is not a true age of the associated human activity


classification according to general type

Morphological Type

a descriptive and abstract grouping of individual artifacts whose focus is on overall similarity rather than function or chronological significance.

Temporal Type

morphological type that has temporal significance; also known as a time-marker or index fossil, group based on date

Functional Type

a class of artifacts that performed the same function; these may or may not be temporal and/or morphological types.

1. What do we mean when we say that the archaeological record is static and contemporary and how do we
bridge it through inference to phenomena that are dynamic and ancient?


2. What is an archaeological site? How is "site" a meaningful unit of observation and analysis? Are there
typical "sites"?


3. Under what conditions would arbitrary level excavation be appropriate? When is excavation by natural
levels warranted?


4. When is it appropriate to use fine-screening and/or flotation techniques to process matrix from
archaeological sites?


5. Why sample during survey or excavation? How does one collect a statistically representative sample?
What are the major limitations to probabilistic sampling in archaeology?


6. Be familiar with the various natural formation processes that contribute to deposition and weathering at
archaeological sites.


7. What are the pitfalls of constructing a relative chronology from the stratigraphic profile of a single site?


8. How does seriation enable archaeologists to construct relative chronologies in the absence of
stratigraphic contexts?


9. Understanding how radiocarbon dating works and explain the complexities introduced by calibration,
reservoir effect, the old wood problem, the old shell problem, and statistical estimations.


10. Understand differences among morphological, temporal, and chronological types.


11. How is the principle of uniformitarianism used by archaeologists and what are its major drawbacks


study of humanity from a bio-cultural perspective

Linguistic anthropology)

Only social)science)that)tradiDonally)looks)at)non@


judging one culture by the standards of another

cultural relativity

judging a culture in its own terms


implies a society made up of many different cultural traditions


Native perspective


outsider perspective

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