post 1 - SOME COMMON WAYS OF KNOWING(OR FORMING OPINIONS...

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SOME COMMON WAYS OF KNOWING (OR FORMING OPINIONS) ABOUT WHAT THE HUMAN PAST WAS LIKE 1) OUR OWN MEMORIES, OR INFORMATION REMEMBERED BY PEOPLE OLDER THAN WE ARE. 2) ORAL TRADITIONS PASSED DOWN OVER MANY GENERATIONS. 3) SYMBOLIC TEXTS: "ART" (SOME KIND OF NON-WRITTEN IMAGE WITH THAT HAS A CULTURALLY DETERMINED MEANING). HISTORICAL INFORMATION (ANYTHING COMMITTED TO WRITING). 4) ASSUMPTION THAT THE PAST MUST RESEMBLE THE PRESENT IN SIGNIFICANT WAYS (AND PARTICULARLY USING ETHNOGRAPHIC OBSERVATIONS AND ANALOGIES). 5) MATERIAL REMAINS LEFT BEHIND BY ANCIENT PEOPLE. 6) EXPERIMENTAL ARCHAEOLOGY (REINACTING PRESUMED PAST BEHAVIORS). 7) BIOASSAYS---ESPECIALLY "BIOLOGICAL HISTORY" AS REFLECTED IN HUMAN DNA. All of these ways of knowing about the past have associated biases and errors, and archaeologists commonly use as many different kinds of evidence as possible to take errors and biases into account. BASIC ISSUES AND GOALS OF ARCHAEOLOGY 1) What’s left? -- Recover and preserve the material remains of past cultures. 2) When did it happen? -- Determine the proper chronological relationships between things. 3) What was it like? -- Reconstruct ancient behavior and cognitive features for particular ancient societies for specific times during the past. 4) How did things change? -- Reconstruct sequences of cultural behavior through time.
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5) Why did things happen? -- Explain why people acted and thought as they did in the past, and why these things changed through time. This is the most difficult of the several goals, and seeking explanations is what makes archaeology a kind of science. ANTHROPOLOGY PHYSICAL CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY ANTHROPOLOGY HUMAN BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION ARCHAEOLOGY HUMAN GENETICS ETHNOGRAPHY HUMAN DEMOGRAPHY LINGUISTICS ARCHAEOLOGY IS MAINLY A SUBDIVISION OF CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY IN THAT WHAT WE USUALLY STUDY IS THE LEARNED, SHARED, CULTURAL BEHAVIOR OF GROUPS OF ANCIENT PEOPLE. BUT, MOST ARCHAEOLOGISTS USE A COMBINATION OF APPROACHES FROM BOTH PHYSICAL AND CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY TO MAKE SENSE OUT OF THE PAST. IN A SENSE, ARCHAEOLOGISTS ARE ETHNOGRAPHERS WHO HAPPEN TO SUDY DEAD PEOPLE INSTEAD OF LIVING ONES. THUS WE CANNOT DIRECTLY OBSERVE THE BEHAVIORS THAT WE ARE INTERESTED IN DOCUMENTING OR EXPLAINING. THE THINGS LEFT OVER FROM THE PAST ARE STATIC. WHAT WE WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ARE THE DYNAMIC BEHAVIORS RESPONSIBLE FOR THOSE THINGS, BUT WE CAN’T SEE THESE DIRECTLY. ETHNOGRAPHERS CAN OBSERVE BEHAVIOR DIRECTLY, THEN DESCRIBE AND EXPLAIN IT. ARCHAEOLOGISTS MUST FIRST RECONSTRUCT ANCIENT BEHAVIOR BEFORE THEY CAN DESCRIBE AND EXPLAIN IT. ……………………………………………………………………………………… ANTHROPOLOGICAL ARCHAEOLOGY IS THE SYSTEMATIC, SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF PAST HUMANS AND THEIR CULTURES, PRIMARILY BASED ON PRESERVED
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MATERIAL THINGS AS BASIC EVIDENCE, AND USES ANTHROPOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES TO INTERPRET SUCH MATERIAL THINGS. ARCHAEOLOGY
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This note was uploaded on 04/01/2008 for the course ANTH 009 taught by Professor Bedalleigh-ann during the Spring '08 term at Penn State.

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post 1 - SOME COMMON WAYS OF KNOWING(OR FORMING OPINIONS...

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