Intro to Archaeology Vocabulary Flashcards

Terms Definitions
-hammerstone (percussion)
-antler(soft percussion)
-pressure flaker
- flakes, exhausted core
-tools (bifaces,, arrowhead)
excavating 5x5' test units
Sample Data Acquisition
Sample Survey
Earliest Upper Paleolithic period. Aurignacian industries have been found on sites across Europe and the Middle East
an archaeological construct possessing traits sufficiently characteristic to distinguish it from other units similarly conceived; spatially limited to roughly a locality or region and chronologically limited to the briefest interval of time possible
o Hieroglyph
depictive, art-related system of writing, such as that of Mesoamerica; may also refer to an individual symbol
Total Data Acquisition
Full coverage survey
J.J.A. Worsaae
- Descriptive Period (1840-1914)
- danish employee of Thomsen
- tested 3-age system using stratigraphy via excavation. Thomsen was correct
- Worsaae also founded: Principal of Association: " objects accompanying a burial are used at same time"
-things near each other in the same stratum are deposited at the same time.
Drawing general inferences on the basis of available empircal data
-also called rock engravings, are pictogram and Logogram images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, and abrading
- Used to analyze of mineral composition of a pot's temper and clay through microscopic observation of thin sections
New World
Central and South America, Neo-tropics, the semiarid Tehuacan Valley and the Tamaulipas area to Oaxaca region
anything portable that was made, modified, and used/moved by humans
analysis technique where a chemical sample can be separated into layers. used when investigating fats preserved in vessels
The decay of radioactive potassium isotopes to argon***Rocks dated this way not artifacts/fossils***Materials:Volcanic Rocks or MineralsRange:Unlimited but approximateLimitations:Appropriate samples are rare.
Mark Leone
Critical theory; subjectivity; bias; reflexivity; emic
Primary Context
in same place as deposited
Use-related: in same place as activities
Transposed: materials cleaned up from place of activity; middens
Nationalistic Archaeology
- not scientific, has agenda. Practicing what we now call Direct Historical Approach
- eg. Nabonidus
Postmodern "Theory"
- postprocessual
- a paradigm that rejects grand historical schemes in favor of humanistic approaches that appreciate the multiple voices of history.
- it seeks to see how colonialism created our vision of the world as we occupy today; it eschews science and argues the existence of objective truth
Location of the stepped pyramid, teh earliest constructed in Egypt. In later periods, Saqqara continued to be used a sa sacred burial area
The last Fourth Dynasty Egyptian king to build a pyramid at Giza; smaller than the other pyramids and at least partially sheathed in polished granite
Location in the East African Rift Valley where many important fossils, including the near-complete fossil of an australopithecine
Site in the Shahara alongsite an ancient lake where a hunter-gatherer occupation dating between 9,700 and 8,200 years ago has been discovered
One of the oldest known Acheulian sites in Europe; located in England and dated to 500,000 years ago
A site in Sichuan Province where excavations uncovered a spectacular trove of artifacts unique in style and that are contemporary Anyang
Obsidian Sourcing
A method to fingerprint unknown obsidian samples and compare them to known sources, in order to determine the source of the unknown sample.
- First recorded excavation:
- King of Babylon from 555-539 BC.
- excavated ancient mounds near Tigris and Euphrates (Mesopotamia)
- restored old temples (goddess Ishtar)
- required workers to find original foundations because had details of when and who built the temples
- recorded information & cataloged
- Displayed items in museums
- example of Nationalist Archaeology because he tried...
-To validate his position as king
- to document his own people and lineage
- to justify which deities to worship
- practiced Direct Historical Approach:
1. start in present with known function 2. work backwards in time, observing evolutionary changes 3. artifacts are assumed to be made and used in similar way
TIkal Rulership
a. Ahaw (divine rulership)
b. meant noble/lord
term for essence/trait.
Phases of Behavioral Processes
Acquisition, Manufacture, Use, Deposition
base camps
areas of semi-permanent or seasonal settlements
objects which were carried, not where they should be; an artificat
A systematic search of the landscape for artifacts and sites on the ground through aerial photography, field walking, soil analysis,and geophysical prospecting.
Sample Units/Data Universe
basic unit of archaeological investigation; subdivision of data universe; defined by either arbitrary or non-arbitrary criteria
- the study of contemporary peoples to determine how human behavior is translated into the archaeological record
Nels Nelson
- also established antiquity of Native Americans
- American Museum of Natural History
- stratigraphic excavations in American Southwest
- Galisteo Basin
defines ceramic sequence
shows "Battleship curves":
used to cross-date other
archeological sites
William Rathje
- 1971, the Garbage Project
- studied garbage of Tucson
- applied archaeological methods to the analysis of modern American society
A site in Souther China that has produced some of the earliest evidence of domesticated rice dating to approx 9000 ya
A region along the course of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers centered in modern Iraq
Large Nasca site that appears to have served as a center for pilgrimate and ritual feasting
Mixture of clay and gravel that was used for building huts at Great Zimbabwe
Chacoan Network
Road system that links Chaco Canyon with sites covering a large part of what is today the Four Corners region of teh American Southwest
Eurasian Acheulian
Stone tool industry found on sites through the middle east and europe beginning 500,000 years ago. Handaxe is characteristic tool
Site located in Kneya and dated to 1.4mya that has produced tentative evidence for the use of fire by early hominins
Remote Sensing
- gathering data and information about the physical "world"
- by detecting and measuring radiation, particles, and fields
- located beyond the immediate vicinity of sensor devices
-associated with objects and features
- magnetometry, ground penetrating radar, soil resistivity
Maya Late Preclassic Transition
a. 200-300ad
b. cultural practices become widely distributed throughout landscape and become further developed and solidified
c. No clean break between late preclassic and early classic in maya area. Southern and Central lowlands sites develop vigorously. some southern highlands and pacific coast sites decline
functional type
a class of artifacts that performed the same function; these may or may not be temporal and/or morphological types.
Diaries and Letters
insight into social relations, ways that people were interacting; ex. Alexander Hamilton
Region Vs. Landscape
Region: specific area, usually defined by geographic featuresLandscape: acknowledged space around sites/regions
african burial ground
discovered during construction of a fed bldg in manhattan
domestic buildings / structures;
- houses- storage-facilities- public structures- meaningful structures
Ruth Tringham
Feminist; past people are more than faceless blobs
Preservation = f(M,C,D,S,T)
M = material
• perishable (flowers, flesh) rarely survives
• altered chemically or mechanically (wood bone etc) can survive sometimes
C = climate
• hotter generally speeds up decomposition (increases chemical reactions
• water speeds up decomposition (increase bacterial decay)
• alternating hot/cold or wet/dry are also bad
D = deposition
• quick burial preserves things
• less time for chemical & mechanical destruction
S = sediment
• acidic soils, minerals decay
• basic soils, organics decay
• neutral soils best (pH 6-8)
T = time
• duration since deposition
This epoch dates from 54 mya to 38 mya
Durrington Walls
Site at the Avon River near stonehenge with three monumental timber circles
A city in the Yi-Lou River Valley that predates Anyang
An elite burial site on teh coast of Peru that has givien archeologists a sense of the wealth and violence of Moche society
Pollen & Palynology
- technique through which the fossil pollen grains and spores from archaeological sites are studied
- The examination of their production, dispersal, and applications is an aid to the reconstruction of past vegetation and climates and developing relative chronologies.Palynology helps archaeologists find out what plant resources were available to ancient peoples and what the climate was at those times.
Tikal Charc.
a. large urban center (60 in core, 200,000 surrounding)
b. Emblem glyph/arch style present in sites throughout southern/central lowlands (political allegience)
Landscape Archaeology
the study of human interaction w/ the environment human activity outside of the domestic unit
amber glass
used to prevent UV light from decaying alcohol
relates to time - the layers of the soil
High/Low Visibility
high= easy to see remains rightr on surface, associated with arid environments
low=difficult to spot, vegetation and soil, soil deposition, flooding cycles
Processual Archaeology
- Focused on culture and what it is
- Two meanings:
1. Learned behavior (all humans have some)
2. Culture is a group of people who have a shared set of ideas not shared with other groups
Chaco Canyon
A canyon in New Mexico that became the center of a regional settlement network and the site of the Great Houses, ca. 800 AD
Compositional vs. Temporal Types
Compositional - type based on the elemental composition of ceramics
Temporal - a morphological type that has temporal significance, also known as a time marker or index fossil
Howard Carter
Searched for King Tut in the Valley of Kings for 5 years. Spent 8 years excavating the tomb
Provenience systems (lot vs. point)
lot = quick (best in secondary/transposed contexts
point = carefully plot position of each artifact (best in primary context)
Huaca de la Luna
A massive mud-brick mound at the site of Moche where actual remains of sacrifical victims were convered and found in various states of dismemberment
Maya Early Classic Cultural Practices
a. Stratified social hierarchy with 4 tiers.(Ruler/elite, Priests & administrators, craft specialists, farmers/foodproducers)
b. elaborate monumental buildings and burials
c. standardization of art style and writing
d continued growth of pop.
e. presence of admin class (taxes/tribute, economic transactions, political events, caledrical cycles)
Excavation: penetrating vs. clearing
data gathering by removal of matrix to reveal 3D structure of data and matrix, both vertically (penetrating) and horizontally (clearing)
Late Classic Maya: Yaxchilan & Piedras Negras
a. Medium sized olities
b. late classic florescence
c. constant political engagements
d. different artistic/architectural styles
How do sampling and screening affect the kinds of artifacts archaeologists find?
- screening depends on sediment type
- the finer the screen (smaller mesh) more smaller artifacts will be found (like charred seeds, fish bones, microfacts, etc...)
-probabilistic sampling misses the rare sites (such as in Teotihucuan simulation)
- stratified random sampling gives a more accurate sampling of the population
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