Archaeology Notes

Archaeology Notes - Archaeology Notes Lower level...

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Archaeology Notes 11/12/07 Lower level Archaeological Theory -observations about artifacts or the archaeological record Middle Level or Middle Range Archaeological Theory - tying in the lower level observations to make statements about culture and practical behaviors of the society. (Re-read Ch. 3, that covers basic Higher Level Theory) Processual approach of the New Archaeology (Do not memorize list; be able to identify processual approaches) Characteristics: -explicitly scientific -study the past cultures as systems rather than as individuals -seeks universal generalizations about past cultures -emphasizes cultural evolution as adaptation to environments -focuses on materialistic and functional explanations. The function and purpose for advancing society is closely analyzed. -holds that archaeologists are objective and ethically neutral *many objections occur to this approach* Post-Processual Techniques Post-Modern Critique What Questions Do We Ask? Science vs. Humanism The questions that we ask constrain the hypotheses we test. -Complex Societies of the Mississippian (c. AD 1000-1600) How are these populations adapting to environment? How many people can the society support? Cognitive Approaches (Meaning) What does material culture Mean to People ? What about Human Motivations and Intentions? How to recognize cognitive approaches, key words: ideology and power, ritual and religion, a prehistory of mind
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Empathetic Approach (IntraGroup Variability) Finding the Individual in the Past Variability of Past Human Experiences within Prehistoric Cultures -Recognizes Importance of Understanding Multiple Competing Groups within Society Popular Questions: how do different classes in a society interrelate? What were differing lifestyles between peasants and pharaohs? -Even cross-cultural differences: ex. Natives vs. colonists, slaves vs. masters Archaeological Knowledge is used in the Present Examples of the three higher level approaches: 1. A study that examines the roles and lifeways of slaves in Egyptian society- Empathetic 2. A study aimed at understanding the meaning of prehistoric cave art- Cognitive 3. A study to examine if the enforcement of a death penalty punishment deters criminal behavior. - Processual 4. A study explaining the collapse of the Maya empire as a result of resource shortages and drought. - Processual 5. A study explaining the collapse empire as a result of a detached nobility engaging in costly wars without ideological or material support from their populations. Empathetic 6. A study focusing on the symbolism of animal carvings on Native American hunting weapons- Cognitive 7. A study detailing the killing efficiency of the Folsom spear point. – Processual Historical Archaeology The study of material remains from past societies that also left behind some form of written documentation about their ways of life. *More than a handmaiden to history
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Archaeology Notes - Archaeology Notes Lower level...

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