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What Is Archaeology Studying Past Cultures




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What is Archaeology?: Studying Past Cultures

What is Archaeology?: Studying Past Cultures

What is Culture?

Cultural Systems and Culture Process

Goals of Archaeology

Theory in Archaeology

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Basic Concepts

Basic Concepts

Fossils-Studied by Paleoanthropologists.

Preserved remains of creatures from the past.

They form when an organism dies, is buried, and over long periods of time the organic part decays and is replaced by minerals.

i.e. bones form stone.

Fossil localities are where fossils are found.

Archaeological sites-Studied by Archaeologists.

Places of past human activity.

large settlements with ceremonial centers.

small hunting camps.

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Artifacts- Objects found and studied by archaeologists which have been made or modified by humans.

Stone tools, bone tools, pottery most common.

Ecofacts- nonartifactual remains found at archaeological sites, such as animals bones, shells, plant remains.

Generally provide ecological and subsistence information.

Features- Nonmoveable artifacts such as hearths, pits or house floors.

Can reveal information such as settlement and subsistence.

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An artifacts context is it's specific location where it was found and how it relates to other artifacts around it.

*i.e. A stone arrowhead is found with newspapers and plastic bottles, what would you conclude about the arrowheads context?

So a pot on its own may tell you how it was made or what it was made from, but if it is removed from its context archaeologists have no idea what it was associated with.

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Doing Archaeology

Doing Archaeology

Locating Sites

Accident, Controlled Survey, Remote Sensing


Horizontal, Vertical

Dating Techniques

Carbon 14, Dendrochronology

Artifact Analysis

Site and Regional Synthesis

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Archaeology is Anthropology

Archaeology is Anthropology

Archaeology is anthropology or it is nothing.

Collectors vs. Archaeologists

collectors are after artifacts for money or for personal collections.

archaeologists are after knowledge.

Context is the most important thing to archaeology.

the time and space in which objects occur in the ground.

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