Ch 9 Dimensions of Archaeology Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Ch 9 Dimensions of Archaeology Deck (18)
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1

Archaeology

"Patterns in the form (shape, size, colour, decoration, etc.) of artifacts and features through time and space"
- Reflects human behaviour and culture

2

Goal of Archaeology

- To reconstruct and explain the past
- What did people do?
- Why did they do it?

3

Material Remains

- Left behind by people
- When and where first
- Then comes the how, who, what, and why

4

Artifact

- An object produced or shaped by humans (or our ancestors)
- Not a natural object

5

Feature

"Evidence of human activity at an archaeological site"
- Trash pits (middens)
- Hearths (fireplaces)
- Walls, ditches, pathways, etc.
- Usually non-movable

6

After Excavation:
Conservation

"The preservation of artifacts or features in a way that allows maximum information to be retrieved today and in the future"
- Ex. Cleaning off dirt, chemical embedding, temperature- humidity controlled storage, removing mold/fungus, mending broken pieces, etc.

7

After Excavation:
Cataloging

- Every single item must be labelled in such a way that its provenience is retained

8

Provenience

- The source, origin, or location of an artifact or feature and the recording of same
• Once lost can never be recovered and greatly decreases the informational value of the artifact/feature

9

Typology

- Systematic arrangement of material cultures into types based on physical characteristics
- Simple categories: stone, bone, ceramic, organic, brick, wood, cloth, metal, etc.

10

Morphological Types

- Grouping of artifacts based on appearance rather than function or time period
- Ex. projectile points, they are based solely on their shape

11

Temporal Types

- A morphological type that has temporal significance
- Ex. time marker or index fossil

12

Functional Types

- A class of artifacts that performed the same function in the past
- May or may not be morphological or temporal types

13

Gatecliff- Projectile Points:
Classification (3)

1970, deepest rock excavation site in the USA
Weight
• Three clusters emerged: small, medium, large
Notch position
• Presence vs. absence; notch location (side)
Stem form
• “proximal shoulder angle” - to operationalize expanding vs. contracting stems

14

Good Typology

1. Minimize differences within and maximize difference between
- Avoid overlapping and ambiguity as much as possible
2. Objective and explicit
- Result is replicable, and system can be used by others

15

Ontario Archaeological Society

- Ontario's archaeological heritage is a vital part of our collective past
- Essential dimension to understanding the places and spaces we live, love and work at today
- Many past generations of ancestors shaped the place and history we call Ontario today

16

Dividing Time:
Periods vs. Phases

Periods
- Divide prehistory into periods based on gross changes in easily observable, major, archaeological remains
Phases
- Regions within a culture area do not change at the same time
- Phases are blocks of time characterized by one or more distinctive artifact type that is limited to a brief period of time

17

Assemblage

- Archaeological sites consist of collections of artifacts from various spatial areas (often called units)
• A site’s projectile point or ceramic assemblage
- Artifacts may come from different layers or strata
• A particular stratum’s assemblage

18

Component

- A stratum or set of strata at a site that is culturally homogenous (dates to the same time-period)