Highlight – Important; Review for Exam Red – Not familiar ANTHROPOLOGY Test 3 Study Guide Studying the past – PowerPoint 1 Studying the past involves both physical anthropology and archaeology. Our focus here is the study of the fossil and material records of ancient humans. The problem of reconstruction Taphonomy : The scientific study of the burial and deposition of bone assemblages South African caves example of taphonomic processes at work Archaeology : The scientific study of the material remains of past human cultures and behavior Sub disciplines of cultural anthropology What it isn’t? It’s not political Goals of archaeology Document the past Reconstruct the past Figure out why the past happened the way it did (and possible learn something useful for the future in the process) Basic categories of archeological evidence 1. Artifacts : the portable products and by-products of human behavior. An object made by a human being, typically an item of cultural or historical interest. 2. Ecofacts : organic remains which are used, or affected by people like plant remains, animal bones and pollen grains. 3. Features : non-portable artifacts, such as pits, walls and buildings. a. Reconstructed walls of ancient Nineveh-Mosul, Iraq. Positive features Negative features 4. Sites : a cluster of artifacts, ecofacts, and features. a. Tell brak, northern Syria 5. Regions : A large cluster of temporally related archaeological data. The issue of preservation : organic remains only preserve in microenvironments which limit decay Dry/Alkaline conditions Cold/Frozen conditions Anaerobic conditions The word of caution : The Pompeii premise is the exception rather than the rule. Sites are rarely frozen in moments in time like Pompeii. (Trans)Formation Processes : Any processes natural or cultural that affect the archaeological record after its deposition. Agriculture/construction Context is key. Context includes: provenience, matrix, and association as well as an understanding of formation processes. Matrix : Reflects the kind of condition that the artifact is in. Association : a part of the context. Example; if you find a bowl on top of a skull then it’s more important than a bowl with a tool. Represents a ritual had happened for the burial. Provenience : exact location where the artifact was found. Ethnographic analogy : Using the present to interpret the past Two types of dating methods exist: Relative dating : Seeks to put fossils and artifacts into temporal order; older to younger. Formation or Transformation Process: Law of superposition : Dictates that lower strata will be older than those higher up in the sequence. Absolute dating : Seeks to put fossils or artifact into an absolute time scale in years a. Radiocarbon b. Potassium-argon Stratigraphy:
Highlight – Important; Review for Exam Red – Not familiar Style: What is the problem of reconstruction?