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Unformatted text preview: 12-15 MYA6-8 MYA4-6 MYAWorld Archaeology1/22/10-WHAT IS ARC?It attempts to study past societies though their material remains.Prehistorical arc. - study of past human cultures before the written history.Historical arc.- study of past cultures complimented by written historical record.99% of human history relies on prehistorical arc. Writing appeared around 3000 BC. 4 categories of evidence-1. Arcist look for- artifacts (tools, pots,ect)2. Ecofacts (organic/environmental remains) 3. features (architecture, post holes, walls ect)4. sites (places where traces of human activities are found) human remains, animal remains, plant remains, and sediments.3 MAIN OBJECTIVES-Reconstruct a single time in history (synchronic perspective)Reconstruct a sequence of events (diachronic per.)Combine synchronic and diachronic approaches to understand the process of social changes.Arc. Supports claims based on empirical evidence, it does not prove anything: it supports hypothesis with evidence in order to distinguish what is probable from what is possible. 1/25/10What constitutes arc. Evidence? What do arcist want to learn? -what we dont have- people to talk to and actions to observe, no written documents (normally)-we have - garbage and debris, arc. Record is fragmentary. Arcist are bound by these restrictions.Arc record can be formed by- nature (correct conditions for remains), most become buried.Gap between what we want to learn and the evidence available. 3 main filters affecting arc record- 1. something never enter( singing religious..) 2. Things that enter are incomplete ( the absence of something doesnt mean that it wasnt there) 3. What survives is a fragment of the remain that enter the arch. Record (taphonomic processes-ways that hinder a site from being complete-looters, insects, natural disaster). How to explain cultural change in arc.- cultures as systems ( made of many variables and a change to one can affect the entire culture. Events vs. process- Innovation, diffusion, migration. Culture history, processual arc 1960s which gave a finer grasp in chronological dating- tries to look at the past by systems on a large scale and trying to prove , posprocessual arc 1980s make aware of biases, points out that you cannot replicate your data there are factors that you cannot assume.In sum: understand the formation of the arc record-use different tools and methods to retrieve information contained in the arc record- think about what we know about the past (epistemology), BEING CRITICAL about our knowledge of the past- dating is a secure aspect of arc. Be critical about evidence on which the study of prehistory is based: complex material evidence, consistently revisit their hypotheses, need for scientific/ empirical approach(keep stats, radio carbon dating)....
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- Spring '08