Intro to Archaeology Flashcards

Terms Definitions
archaeological and paleontological sites consisting of the remains of a large number of animals, often of the same species, and often representing a single moment in time --- a mass kill or mass death
- location: provinence, stratigraphic- characteristic of the deposit (the matrix)- formation context- types: chronological, cultural, functional
Drawing particular inferences from general laws and models
- geoarchaeology, essential in determining if primary or secondary deposit
- the displacement and mixing of sediment particles (i.e. sediment reworking) and solutes (i.e. bio-irrigation) by fauna (animals) or flora (plants).
- creates mixed deposit (vertical movement within a site)
sub-altern groups
groupds subordinate to others
Scientific Method
Hypothesis testing, testing hypothesis, test implications, multiple working hypotheses
Charles Abbot
- Culture Historical Period (1914-1940)
- believed in Long Chronology: people in Americas for a long time
- searched for "Paleoliths": big chunky artifacts he was convinced were very old because they were similar to artifacts in Europe known to be very old
- "they look similar, therefore, they must be the same age"...if looked like European Paleolithic artifacts, and those are old, US ones must be just as old
An archeaological industry found in Italy during the transition between the Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic. Arched-back kinves are characteristic of teh Ulluzian
A theory of interpretation that stresses teh interaction between the presuppositions we bring toa problem and the independent empriracal reality of our observations and experiences
Great Houses
Large multistoried structures located at Chaco Canyon, NM, that became the center of a regional settlement network around 800 AD
Ales Hrdlicka
- Culture Historical Period (1914-1940)
- Short Chronology camp: people only in Americas for short time, 2-4000 yrs. , not enough time or would have "evolved empires" like in Europe
- very critical of anything old; vicious in print: showed that Abbot's Paleoliths were just waste flakes from biface production
Lithic Technology
a. Types: projectiles, microliths, knives, scrapers
b. fluting of projetile points
spears with removable opints
C. Decline of mega-fauna
i. large dense population=5000+ ii. Specialization:a. crafts people in city b. rural hinterland iii. Interdependence: a. between goods produced in cities and hinterland areas.b. between city and country. c. between crafts people and others. iv. marketplace/ goods and services
michael blakey
only af-amer bio anthropologist working in a us univ at the time. assigned to burial project
destroying the icons of previous areas
A uniquely human means of nonbiological adaptation; a repertiore of learned behaviors for coping with the physical and social environments
Ian Hodder
Different processes can produce similar archaeological traits; equifinality = all things are equal in the end, different circumstances can lead to the same thing; critiques processual because can't find these laws
Optimal Foraging
- archaeological theory
- helps to predict which foods foragers will harvest based on some principles borrowed from evolutionary ecology.
- the diet-breadth model predicts that as high return rate resources become rare, the diet should expand to include lower rate resources
- Microscopic silica bodies that form in living plants, providing a durable floral ecofact that allows identification of plant remains in archaeological deposits.
- They are common in ash layers, pottery, and even on stone tools used to cut the stems of silica-rich plants (e.g. cereals).
- Different plants produce phytoliths with different characteristic shapes and sizes, though not all are unique to specific species. These can be detected by an electronic scanning microscope.
A culture that developed along the pacific coast of peru and that flourished beginning 2000 years ago
Nasca Lines
Large-scale patterns created on the desert floor near the Nasca River on the Andean coast. The Nasca lines include depicitons of humans and animals as well as a large number of straight lines that stretch for miles
Middle stone age site in the Democratic republic of Congo where bone harpoons have been found
Period in which humans lived with now-extinct animals, also called the old stone age
X-Ray Flourescence Spectrometry - technique that uses obsidians trace element to fingerprint an artifact and trace it to its geologic source
Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis - a technique that determines the trace element composition of the clay used to make a pot n trace the clay to its geological source
-Used when studying art, for paint residues
-Determines major and trace elements
Christian Thomsen
- developed 3-Age System
- Descriptive Period (1840-1914)
-Worked at museum, in Copenhagen, Denmark
-Invented 3 age system, Stone -> Bronze -> Iron
a. Human occupation of the Americas before 13,500 ya
b. sites are scarce but include
North America (meadowcroft, topper site, cactus hill, painsley caves)
South America (Monte Verde, pedra furada)
c. Suggests possible alternative entry routes into the americas
(previous glacial cycles, pacific routes, atlantic routes?!)
prime mover
1. irrigation:water essential to grow crops, maintenance, agriculture intensification. 2. population pressure:increasing population drives development 3. Circumscription:warfare;population located in an area with limited agricultural land or population becomes relatively complex located in valley, there is a limitation set on the population, use warfare to attain needed resources.
Historical Archaeology
Deals generally with European and post-colonial American cultures
section 106
part of the national historic preservation act that requires fed agencies to evaluate the impact of all fed funded or permitted proehcts on historic properties and also consult impacted native tribe
altered plants and animals:
- domestication- harvested- moved
Absolute Dating
A method of assigning archaeological dates in calendar years so that an actual number of years is known or can be estimated.
The exposure and recording of buried materials from the past
Low-impact Field Methodologies
pedestrian survey; surface collection; aerial survey; remote sensing (not digging into ground, covers all low impact methods); magnetometry; electrical resistivity, EPR
- the search for universals by means of established scientific methods of inquiry
a thin, sharp sliver of stone removed from a core during the knapping process.
Uruk Period
Period between 4000 and 3200 during which teh first cities in Mesopotamia developed
Bernardo de Shagun
Spanish friar who compiled the Florentine codex
A periiod in which there is rapid increase in the diversity of a single lineage, during the period between 4mil and 2mil ya there was radiation in teh hominin lineage
Triple Alliance
The pact between the cities of Tenochtitlan, Telapocan, and Texcoco that formed the basis of the Aztec Empire
Approach to arch or anth analysis that does not attempt to adopt the perspective of members of the culture being studied
Uan Afuda
A preagricultural site in the Sahara that yileded evidence that wild goats were kept in pens in teh back of a cave
Nile Valley
A swath of lush vegetation descending from the highlands of Ethiopia and standing in sharp contrast to the surrounding desert
- the zero point, a fixed reference used to keep control on a dig
- usually controls both the vertical and horizontal dimensions of provenience
Volcanic Glass
- Obsidian
- used to process lithic tools such as arrowheads
- occurs naturally only in western United States so example of trade to Hopewell Indians
- sharp but brittle
James Usher
-He was a bishop,
-calculated Earth to be 5500 yrs old, using old testament and age of people in Ireland
-used old testament to calculate world was created on Oct 22, 4004 BC
-People thought he was right until Worsaae and Cuvier
a. 11,000 ya to now
b. warmer than Pleistocene
c. climate relatively stable (no glaciation cycles)
Microbotanical Analysis
the study of (burned) organic remains; 1. when seeds, stems, woods, etc. are burned and carbonized they tend to survive in the soil
Sir Arthur Evans
Excavated the island of Crete stratigraphically for 30 years. Established a definite connection between the Mediterranean and other regions of the world
the study of what happens to bones btwn the time they are deposited and dug up
used to store food, first developed by Napoleon in 180s for his army. true sanitary ones not developed until 1904, first opener in 1858. popular on the frontier
dating techniques:
- relative dating: if somthing is older than somthing else- absolute dating: more exact
Arbitrary vs. Natural Levels
Arbitrary: set by us
Natural: stratigraphic lines (cultural or natural)
Stratified Random Sampling
- we already have assumptions about behavior in varied environments so clump those together and and then chose random survey from those
- (the process of dividing members of the population into homogeneous subgroups before sampling)
- can be more representative of the population than a survey of simple random sampling or systematic sampling.
Miocene Era
Period 23 million to 5 millin years ago, when there was an explosion in the number of hominoid species
A wild grass found in the highlands of Mexico; wild ancestor of maize
City that was a member of the Aztec Triple Alliance
Sahelanthropus tchadensis
A possible early member of the human lineage. Fossils of the species were discovered in Chad in levels dating to 7mya
Sahara Desert
The most dominant feature of the North African Landscape today. Between 14,000 and 4500 years ago there was increased rainfall in tehe area, allowing for human occupation
Origins of Writing
Develop independently in many areas of the world
• Usually with state-level societies (but sometimes chiefdoms)
• Writing used to record and keep track of many things
• Also used for political and social purpose
• Also to bamboozle people and discourage critical thinking
• Many different media
Stone, paper, wood. Bamboo, metal, bone, clay
Neolithic Age
- late stone age
- The period of prehistory when people began to use ground stone tools, cultivate plants, and domesticate livestock but before the useof metal for tools. It is the technical name for the New Stone Age in the Old World following theMesolithic. In the Neolithic, villages were established, pottery and weaving appeared, and farming (food production) began. The Neolithic began about 8000-7000 BC in the Middle East and about 4000-3000BC in Europe.
Australopithecus Char. for A anamensis/afarensis/garhi/africanus
a.Gracile structure
b. small canines, larger molars
c. thick enamel
d. less facial prognatism
e. sagittal crest
f. A. afarensis: "Lucy"
brick in mouth
practice done to vampires when they were buried so they wouldnt chew through their shrouds
separation of the spheres
differences in artistic and cultural elements in early colonial times in new world vs old world until opening of japan for trade. Japan craze set off popularity of japanese motifs in american ceramics
Normative Model of Culture
culture defined by norms of society
Serpent Mound, OH
- Large ritual earth mound with the form of a curved serpent holding either an egg or a frog. The mound is associated with a nearby burial mound of the Adena culture. At 405 meters long, 1-2 meters high, it is probably the largest serpent effigy in the world.
Pyramid of the Moon
A pyramid complex used for both symbolic functions and the production of military supplies and located at the north end of the Avenue of the Dead in Teotihuacan
Best & Worst Environs for Preservation
- Best environment for preservation:
1. dry caves, no water
2. frozen environments
- Worst environment for preservation:
- strange exceptions: Bog people of Denmark
-Acidic and anaerobic water
-Naturally mummified skin and organs (bone not well preserved-mineral)
Palynology (study of pollen)
plants produce pollen grains that are identifiable by experts
Radiocarbon Dating/Willard Libby
used to determine age of an artifact, ecofact, or feature (developed by Libby)
Huaca Cao Viejo
A Moche site where a mural showing a line of prisoners was found
General Approach to Excavation
1. Establish Datum & make map of surface
2. Decide what digging tools to use
3. Decide whether to screen excavated area
provenicence (where?)
- locus - where it is in a site- source - where it came from
Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition
Arch period that saw the appearance of modern humans in Europe. Includes development of new types of stone and bone tools and the dramatic appearance of a wide range of symbolic artifacts
Surface Pedestrian Survey (methods employed)
Mark sample units on study area map, spacing between crew members (high/low intensity), walk transects, record archaeological sites, tape and compasses
Tiny crescent-shaped tools characteristic of the Natufian
o Auto-sacrifice
royal sacrifice either auto sacrifice or that of a captive rulers’ s role as chief shaman goal: to obtain knowledge from divine serpent took place in public settings (great plaza)
Biological superfamily that includes humans, great apes, and gibbons
subsistence (bonus)
a means of surviving
minimal characteristics of an artifact used as a criteron for grouping artifacts: raw material, sytle, form, manufacturing technology, descriptive aspect of an artifact or site
Gray Literature
unpublished literature; CRM; unpublished site reports; stored in SHPO
Lewis Binford
- Explanatory Period (1960-present)
- said arch too insular -could describe but not explain record
Why why why
Called for "New Archaeology"
- Emphasis on understanding underlying cultural processes
- Processual Archaeology
- Binford suggested that culture was
The way people adapted to their environment
Extrasomatic means of adaptation
Extra (latin) = outside of; soma (greek) = body
Camelid animals domesticated in the Andean highlands
Growth and development of an individual organism
Middle Paleolithic
Archaeological period durin which Neanderthals occupied Europe
- desiccated feces, often containing macrobotanical remains, pollen, and the remains of small animals
-can be useful in studying died, or past environment (ecology)
a. flourished in the early preclassic
b. reached its apex/declined in the middle preclassic
c. located at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec
d. First identifiable cultural group to show many mesoamerican cultural practices (Seen as mother culture by some)
Complex society ruled by one individual, the chief, with ascribed/ ranked status, specialists, and complex economy.
repeated activities meant to control or influence deities
arch method/theory
relationships bt matierial culture, behavior and thought; processes of formation and transformation; importance of provenience and methods of data recovery / analysis
A major division of geological time,tens or hundreds of millions of years long, usually distinguished by significant changes in the plant and animal kingdoms. Also used to denote later archaeological periods.
Direct Historical Approach
Holistic (Ethnographic research, understand both past and present, use knowledge of present to help reconstruct the life-ways of past) Use 4 fields of Anthropology together (Ethnography, Biological, Linguistics, Archaeology)
William Ritchie
- Example of culture history construction
- PhD dissertation "pre-Iroquoian occupation of New York State"
-developed "culture areas" = time periods x areas (each defined by certain artifact types, or list of distinctive traits)
Indiana Jones
- non-realistic Hollywood depiction of archaeology
- teaches us that picking up things destroys context
Jericho tower
9-meter high structure made of undressed stone and mud brick dating to teh Pre-pottery Neolithic A
A period of intensive mount building in the Ohio River Valley, corresponds to Middle Woodland culture
Clovis culture
The period many N American archaeologists view as the initial human occupation of the Americas, dated between 13500 and 12500 years ago
A very large compound in Teotihuacan that includes a large courtyard where the Temple of the Feathered Serpent is located
Three-Age system
A system developed by Danish antiquarian Christian Jurgensen Thomsen that catalogues artifacts into relics of three periods- Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age-based on the material of manufacture
- the principle asserting that the processes now operating to modify the Earth's surface are the same processes that operated long ago in the geological past (processes that work today worked that way in the past).
- popularized by Charles Lyell
William H. Holmes
- Culture Historical Period (1914-1940)
- also in short Chronology Camp with Hrdlicka
- to prove his point, he made a fake flake, sent it to a "long camp" person, who declared it was old.
- Left a legacy in American Archaeology:
1. Do work carefully
2. Work slowly
3. Pay attention to stratigraphy
- ultimately right about Abbot but wrong about natives
- rumors that artifacts found in direct association with extinct megafuana in New Mexico &few other sites...
- they set bar very high so archaeologists had to be certain of association
Symbolic Revolution
a. essentially homo sapien craft making
b. figurines, depictions of things and people in caves/shelters
calendars etc.
complex society evidence
1. agricultural intensification 2. large settlements 3. social differentiation 4. long distance trade
argues that the processes of the modern earth are the same that shaped its surface in the past
Jerry Thomas
published the Bon Vivant's Companion which was the first book on mixed drinks
study of people, ways of life, societies
Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
is used for mapping
Archaeological "Cultures"
maximum grouping of all assemblages assumed to represent the sum of human activities carried out within a single ancient culture
Importance of Context
- used to differentiate between geofacts and artifacts/ ecofacts by investigating where it is found and what it is found with
Uniformitarian Processes
- processes that work today worked that way in the past
Aztec Empire
A large Mesoamerican empire based in Tenochtitlan
Arch site produced by a series of brief occupations
The larger of two rural sites in Morelos, to the south of the Basin of Mexico, that have produced insight into rural life under the Aztecs
Habuba Kebira
Uruk colony located on the upper reaches of the Euphrates River in northern Syria
Classical vs. Historical vs. Prehistoric Archaeology
Classical:- studies early civilizations and writing; Mediterranean such as Greece and Rome and Near East
Historical:- study of human behavior through material remains
- excavate and work with documents; colonial America, Medieval Europe
Prehistoric:95% of human existence; mostly excavation and survey
Charles Lyell
- in investigating the antiquity of the earth, discovered extinct artifacts
- British, popularizer of uniformitarianism
Maya in late preclassic
a. Monumental structures (massive construction efforts, high quality of craftsmanship
b. standardization of artistic style
c. standardization of writing system
Industrial Archaeology is characterized by:
1. economic processes and technological change; 2. decreased emphasis on excavation; 3. increased emphasis on mapping and drafting
Austen Henry Layard
During excavation in Biblical regions discovered many well-preserved Cuneiform tablest. Discovered the Winged Bulls of Nineveh, and moved them to France
clifton plantation
site where laurie worked in the bahamas
o Stela
an erect stone monument that is often carved; they often were used to glorify the ancestries and accomplishments of specific rulers or elites; the freestanding stelae are important b/c they are examples of the earliest Mesoamerican writing; they were often defaced or intentionally mutiliated to diminish the importance of the individuals that were represented after their deaths or in periods of reform / revolution; they are important b/c they provide an important record for archaeologist
Assemblages vs. Sub-assemblages
Assemblages: gros grouping of all sub-assemblages assumed to represent the sum of human activities carried out within an ancient community
sub-assemblages: grouping of artifact classes based on form and function that is assumed to represent a single occupational group within an ancient community
General Approach to Surveying
1. pick region appropriate to question, familiarize yourself with region, check other resources
2. Begin survey - using spacing and pace appropriate to questions
3. When you find sites - record precise location (GPS or compass), take notes, collect artifacts (sometimes), back in lab, request trinomial, catalog artifacts, test hypothesis
This period dates from 65 mya to 2 mya
Humboldt Current
A current that brings cool waters from teh south up along the Andean coast, accounting for the remarkable wealth of marine resources
Artifact vs. Feature
artifact - movable, something made or modified by humans for use.
feature- immovable... cooking pit, house, burial pit
- lab tool
- a device used to measure the distance between two opposing sides of an object. (length width thickness)
- eg: compass
Late Classic Maya:
a. Tikal falling = fragmentation of political landscape. smaller polities arise
b. Characterized by dynamic/competitive environment. Glyph numbers increase, more monumental structures, shoddy quality of construction
Lithic Tech of ARchaic
a. tech. Peforators, drills, choppers, gougers, mortars & peslte, metate & mano.
other materials: bone points, fish hooks andp ins
c. atatl (spear thrower)
d. larger populations!
extended pubic tubercle
only skeletal indicator on women to reliably correlate with childbirth and number of births
Contour lines/Topographic maps
Physical map of area; contour lines show changes in altitude
Giza Plateau
- The site of the pyramid complexes of the Egyptian kings Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure on the west bank of the Nile opposite modern Cairo. It is most famous for the Great Pyramid of Khufu, two only slightly smaller pyramids, the Great Sphinx.
Popol Vuh
A Maya myth that tells the epic tale of hero twins and their battle with the lords of the underworld
Petra, Jordan
- A city in Jordan which was the capital of the Edomite and Nabataean kingdoms on main route between Dead Sea and Red Sea, important (especially for trade) during the Hellenistic period.
- Little is known of the later history of Petra, although a Crusader fort survives
main characteristics to state society
1. cities 2.full time specialization of labor 3. state organization a. highly organized b. internally specialized c. territorial residence 4. class stratification a. rulers b. commoners
Agency in archaeology
past people used to be viewed as robots, passive writers, not just a model, they were actually people; faceless blobs; etic/outsider's perspective (behavior, observer) vs. emic perspective (actions, cultural relativism/meanings)
Gran Dolina, Atapuerca
A cave in Spain where stone tools and hominin remains dated to 800,000 years ago were found. These artifacts are the oldest reliable evidence o fhuman occupation of Western Europe
Definition of clay & temper
Clay- fine soil particles used in making pottery. this clay is shaped and then fired to make ceramics.
• Heat changes structure of clays
• Where can you find Clay?
o Sedimentary (lots of small particles sorted by nature and put down at the same location, redeposited sediments; Levigation = artificial way to do this) vs. Residual clays (formed in situ, weathered rocks etc.)
Temper- Foreign material (sand, plant fibers, grit, shell, crushed rock, broken pottery) added to clay for potterymaking to improve its firing qualities and prevent a vessel from cracking during the drying process. Temper reduces plasticity, which would cause shrinkage or cracking upon drying and firing. The study of temper is important for the identification of the place of manufacture of a vessel.
site formation processes
- the process by which arch sites are formed and transformed ; natural or cultural
Epiphysis & Fusion
- the ends of bones that fuse to main shaft or portion of bone at various ages; most bones are fused by ages 25. This fact can be used to age skeletons of younger individuals
Why do archaeologists sometimes dig in "arbitrary" 10cm levels?
- the stratigraphy is not apparent (like in CA with open air sites)
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