Notes - World Archaeology 2050 Goals of Archaeology-...

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World Archaeology 2050 Goals of Archaeology - origins and legitimacy in intellectual curiosity; minimal practical application: Archaeology can be tied into many other areas of study, such as classical studies, anthropology, mythology, European colonialism, history, and treasure hunting. Important goals with practical application: What led to the contemporary world? Process of social change Ways humans organize society Help to shape the present “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it” George Santayana, 1905 Studying archaeology has major personal/emotional benefits: humans like to learn about the past. What do archaeologists want to learn? Knowledge about past societies: from the Greek “arkhaiologa” (the study of ancient things) Science of material systems: Systemic (living societies) vs. archaeological contexts (past societies who left material remains behind) “We are garbage pickers of the universe.” Three main objectives 1. Reconstruct how people lived at a single time (synchronic perspective) 2. Reconstruct sequence of events (diachronic perspective) 3. Combine synchronic and diachronic approaches to understand the PROCESSES of social change. Archaeologist support claims and hypothesis by collecting EMPERICAL evidence. Archaeologists do not prove anything: they support hypothesis with evidence in order to distinguish what is probable from what is possible. Just collect enough evidence to say that something is probably true. Systemic cultural context- the event; what actually happen at a point in time (example, goat harvest) Verses Archaeological context- what is left from the event that the archaeologist actually discover (example, fire pit where the goats were burned) What is evidence? What we don’t have- people to talk to and actions to observe, documents (normally) We do have- garbage and debris, archaeological record is fragmentary Why is there anything left? Archaeological record formed by various factors
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World Archaeology 2050 What’s the value? Basic archaeological problem: gap between what we want to learn and the evidence avalible Some aspects of past cultural behaviors are more different to reconstruct (example, religious beliefs and language) Three main filters affecting archaeological record 1. Some things never enter the archaeological record 2. Things that enter are incomplete 3. What survives time is a fragment of the fragmentary remains that entered the archaeological record (taphonomic process) ( worms and tree roots) Four categories of evidence 1. Artifact- portable object made/modified by humans 2. Ecofacts- organic/environmental remains (maize, llama, pollen) 3. Features- immovable objects (post holes, architecture) 4. Site- places where traces of human artifacts are found How to explain culture change in archaeology? Culture as “systems”
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course ANTH 2050 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at LSU.

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Notes - World Archaeology 2050 Goals of Archaeology-...

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