324f02syl - Introduction to Archaeology Dr. Bruce Owen...

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Introduction to Archaeology Dr. Bruce Owen Anthropology 324 Fall 2002 Office: Stevenson 2070 J Tuesday and Thursday, 4:00-5:15 Phone (I rarely check the voicemail): (707) 664-3963 Stevenson 2001 Email (I check it regularly): Owenbruce@aol.com Class web page: members.aol.com/postquem/324f2002.htm Introduction to Archaeology This course will introduce you to the goals, methods, theories, and practice of archaeology. Archaeology is our only access to much of the past. Archaeologists have the privilege and responsibility of figuring out what happened before now, and trying to explain why. Archaeology is a wonderful field for jacks-of-all-trades and renaissance people, because within its humanistic approach to understanding people and societies of the past, there is room and need for a staggering diversity of ways of thinking, skills, and interests. Archaeology needs historians, linguists, ethnographers, and artists; it needs chemists, botanists, statisticians, and computer experts; it needs hikers, photographers, mechanics, and diggers who can dissect the ground like a three-dimensional puzzle; and many others. It is best if you can be all of those, while constantly thinking like a scientist and an anthropologist. Archaeology is fun and challenging. This course will start with an introduction to the general approaches and goals of archaeology, that is, what archaeologists want to learn. We will then look at the most concrete aspects of archaeological methods, including dating, building chronologies, and finding and digging sites. We will move on to ways to squeeze conclusions from archaeological data, from ethnographic analogies and experimental archaeology, through methods for studying animal bone, plant material, and human remains. With these tools under control, we will look at how archaeologists approach the grander questions like the origins of inequality, gender roles, complex societies, and even human consciousness. Finally (as well as all along), we will consider how archaeology fits into the real world: the conservation and study of archaeological remains as a moral and legal matter, the role of the observer in creating the past, archaeology and the television-watching, museum-visiting public, and the really thorny issues of who owns archaeological remains and the purposes and ethics of their use in the modern world. Real projects will serve constantly as examples, but this is not a course on world prehistory. The focus is not on the past itself, but on the thinking, methods, issues, and ethics of the field. Class meetings will be a mix of lectures and discussion, often covering material related to, but different from, the reading. The reading is from a textbook, an amusing mystery with digressions into archaeological theory, and some articles on reserve and/or available through the class web page. I
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324f02syl - Introduction to Archaeology Dr. Bruce Owen...

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