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32402f02 - Introduction to Archaeology Class 2 What...

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Introduction to Archaeology: Class 2 What archaeology is and how it got that way Copyright Bruce Owen 2002 Dating conventions B.C./A.D. = Before Christ, Anno Domini ("Year of our Lord") based on the conventional birth of Christ, which may or may not have really been in 1 A.D. correction to Thomas: there is NO year zero. these are numbered years, so: the first year before the conventional birth of Christ; or the first year "of our Lord". the "correct" way to write these for most Americanist journals is: 500 B.C. (letters, with periods, after the year) A.D. 500 (letters, with periods, before the year) but some journals omit the periods and common usage puts both B.C. and A.D. after the year A.C. = After Christ. Almost never seen. C.E./B.C.E.= Common Era, Before Common Era the supposedly non-religiously-specific way of writing B.C./A.D. otherwise identical. Used, but not too widely B.P.=Before Present (where Present is 1950, about when radiocarbon dating was first used) for rough or very old dates, you can simplify the arithmetic by approximating it as "before 2000" Why does history matter? this is a metaphor for archaeology itself! One good way to tell where you are now is to look at how you got there What archaeologists do today is largely shaped and responding to what others did before Also, many important ideas in use today come out of debates and problem solving in the past so looking at those debates brings up some central points about archaeological practice What is archaeology? Thomas, in this chapter: "Deciphering meaning from objects in context" Kidder (Thomas, p. 15): "that branch of anthropology which deals with prehistoric peoples" Thomas, in the glossary: "The study of the human past through the systematic recovery and analysis of material culture" looking at the general evolution of archaeology as a field, we see what it once was and (mostly) no longer is Discussion of the selective history given in Thomas This is not a complete history, but rather some selected examples These are an almost random sampling of the many people who could be mentioned Very early "archaeology" Nabonidus: last king of the neo-Babylonian Empire (ruled 556-539 BC) some of his story is known from written records of the time, in cuneiform
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Introduction to Archaeology F 2002 / Owen: What archaeology is and how it got that way p. 2 Nabonidus was a governor who came to power after several years of struggle for succession following the death of Nebuchadnezzar II, a militarily successful king the Babylonian Empire was overextended; it had recently defeated the Egyptian army to the west but was threatened by the Persians (Iranians) to the east, and had carried out huge renovations in the capital that must have strained the national resources Nabonidus apparently led a revitalization movement, rebuilding ancient temples and aligning himself with the glories of the ancient past as part of this, he dug into the foundations below some of the temples he restored, in order to find "foundation deposits": caches of dedicatory goods that would identify the
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