Create an account
a person who studies the past
, of or relating to antiques or antiquities
, one who collects or studies objects of former times
-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
! 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
! 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
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.
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
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.
the attempt to systematically locate previously unknown sites in a region
-, Strategies depend on time and $$$. Total coverage not possible.
- Simple random
- Stratified random
- Others: Stratified systematic or systematic unaligned.
a type of survey, basically ground survey where you walk the landscape trying to find sites, map and document
selecting a random sample of data and applying the characteristics of the sample to the whole group
survey units of a standard size and shape, determined by the research question and practical considerations, used to obtain the sample
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
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.
obtaining information about a site by using an instrument that is not physically in contact with the site
Geographic information system (GIS)
A computer system that stores, organizes, analyzes, and display geographic data
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
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.
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).
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 .
weathering of rock and the accumulation of organic material, a. parent material
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
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
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
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
a chronometric dating technique involving the counting of tree rings. Can date wood objects back to about 11kyr
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
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
a descriptive and abstract grouping of individual artifacts whose focus is on overall similarity rather than function or chronological significance.
morphological type that has temporal significance; also known as a time-marker or index fossil, group based on date
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
3. Under what conditions would arbitrary level excavation be appropriate? When is excavation by natural
4. When is it appropriate to use fine-screening and/or flotation techniques to process matrix from
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
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
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.
11. How is the principle of uniformitarianism used by archaeologists and what are its major drawbacks
study of humanity from a bio-cultural perspective
Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.
Having trouble? Click here for help.
We can’t access your microphone!
Click the icon above to update your browser permissions and try again
Reload the page to try again!Reload
Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom
Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom
It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.
Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.
For more help, see our troubleshooting page.
Your microphone is muted
For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.
Star this term
You can study starred terms together