Anth Exam 1 - Anth Exam 1 I Archaeology and Prehistory a...

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Anth Exam 1 I. Archaeology and Prehistory a. Archaeology and Prehistory i. Anthropology- the biological and cultural study of all humanity, ancient and modern 1. Archaeologists are anthropologists a. Anthropologists are concerned with living societies, archaeologists study the human cultures and societies of the past ii. Archaeology is the study of ancient human behavior based on surviving material finds iii. Archeological record 1. Archives of the past made up of surviving finds resulting from ancient human behavior iv. Text-aided archaeology 1. Practiced with the aid of historical documents a. Confined to societies that have flourished during the past 5000 years v. Prehistoric archaeology 1. Of ancient societies that were non-literate 2. Extends back at least 2.6 million years vi. The doctrine of uniformitarianism 1. Geological observations presented evidence of gradual change over long periods of time through natural processes such as flooding and erosion 2. The bones of long extinct animals such as the ancestors of the elephant and the hippopotamus came from European river gravels, some from the same strata as carefully chipped stone axes of obvious human manufacture vii. Two major scientific developments now produced critical evidence for the antiquity of humankind 1. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection in his On the Origin of Species in 1859 2. Proof of the contemporaneity of human and extinct animals, documented conclusively by finds in gravels of the Somme River in northern France in
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the same year, three years after the discovery of the brow-beetled Neanderthal skull in Germany, the first archaic-looking human ancestor, creating a framework for human existence that extended back tens of thousands of years into an unknown past viii.World prehistory in archaeology 1. Radiocarbon dating 2. Explosion in the number of professional archaeologists during the 1950s and 1960s b. Culture and Culture Change i. The distinctive adaptation system used by human beings ii. A society’s traditional systems of belief and behavior, as understood by individuals and the members of social groups as manifested in individual or collective behavior iii. Part of our way of adapting to the environment iv. Cultural system 1. A complex system comprising a set of interacting variables (tools, burial customs etc.) that function to maintain a community in a state of equilibrium with its environment 2. No cultural system is ever static a. When one of the elements changes (ex: hunting practices change in response to prolonged drought) then reacting adjustments will occur in many other elements v. Cultural process 1. The processes by which human societies changed in the past 2. Inventions and design improvements result in dozens of minor alterations in the ways people live 3. The term process is used in archaeology to refer to mechanisms by which cultures change a. Invention- involves creating a new idea and transforming it- in archaeological contexts- into an artifact or other tangible innovation that has survived
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b.
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