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Flashcards in Midterm: Important People Deck (20):

Nicolas Steno

In 1669 discovered that the "past is beneath our feet"; the law of superposition, which states that in any pile of sedimentary rocks undisturbed by overturning, the strata on the bottom will be the oldest, and the strata will be gradually younger approaching the top.


Archbishop James Ussher

(1581-1656) Using biblical genealogies and correlations, Ussher estimated that biblical creation began at sunset on Saturday, October 2, 4004 B.C. (~6000 years ago).


James Hutton

(1726-1797) Formulated one of the cornerstones of geology: uniformitarianism.


H. Marie Wormington

(1914-1994) Early female archaeologist. Was the 2nd woman admitted to study in Harvard's anthropology dept., and the 1st female president of the society for American Anthropology.



The last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (2500 years ago). Looked for past scriptures that indicated his divine right to rule. Specifically looked at physical evidence of the past, rather than legend, myth and practices to reconstruct the past.


Jacques Boucher Dr Perthes

1830's French naturalist. Found stone axe heads along the Somme River, with the bones of extinct animals. De Perthes' hypothesis to the question "Who made the axe heads?" was: the people who lived at the same time as those animals in the deep past.


Charles Lyell

In 1863, published the idea that ancient extinct mammals and ancient humans coexisted; which was initially rejected, but more people accepted it as people began to understand that older things were deeper in the ground. Lyell built on Hutton's concept of uniformitarianism.


Charles Darwin

Published around the same time as Lyell. Essentially created the theory of evolution. Stated that evolution is a non-linear process. Published "On the Origin of Species" in 1859, and came up with the concept of Natural Selection.


Thomas Jefferson

"Father of American Archaeology". Excavated mounds on his land and looked at earth layers, and how the artifacts were associated with one another. He tested his expectations going into the study. He concluded that the mounds were made by the Native American ancestors, and wrote a book on it. Proposed that Native Americans deserved similar rights to Euro-Americans.


Ephram Squier and Edwin Davis

(1848) Excavations of large burial mounds and temple platforms in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys.They kept very careful and scientific notes, like Jefferson did, and created detailed maps. Refused to believe Native Americans were the builders (were wrong). Thought MesoAmericans had come to build the mounds, and then left.


Cyrus Thomas

Lawyer/Minister/Entomologist/Archaeologist, and worked for the Smithsonian in the 1890s. Convinced everyone that Native Americans built the mounds. He systematically addressed claims made by prior investigators, and used Spanish documents that talked about Native Americans building the mounds as evidence.


A.V. Kidder

Founder of anthropological archaeology. Practiced systematic excavation and analysis. His analysis of potsherds to discover relationships between Native American groups. Was the first to actually do this under the name of an archaeologist (Early 1900s).


John Lubbock

Literally Darwin's neighbor and an "Armchair Anthropologist". Was very influential in Social Darwinism. Believed indigenous people were "living fossils". He was influenced by the colonialist Paradigm.


Lewis Henry Morgan

(1818-1881) Was the founding "warrior" of the Grand Order of the Iroquois. Was a lawyer, businessman, and part-time ethnographer. Came up with Social Evolution.


Franz Boas

(1858-1942) The father of American anthropology. Said that Social Evolution (Morgan) doesn't make sense. He rejected the cultural assumptions made at the time (such as barbarism) and thought they were racist. Created historical particularism: to understand a culture, learn about all customs, traditions,and material culture before generalizing.


Lewis Binford

Archaeology's "Angry Young Man".In 196, created artifact types:
1) Technomic: cope with physical environment
2) Socioeconomic: function within the social subsystem of a culture
3) Ideotechnic: function within the ideological component of the culture system.


William SMith

(1769-1839) Created the index fossil concept: the idea that strata containing similar fossil assemblages are of similar age.


Kathleen Deagan

(1948) Helped fulfill Binford's call for a better archaeology. Best known for her long-term excavations at St. Augustine (Florida).


Nels Nelson

(1875-1964) Applied the index fossil concept to the prehistoric ceramics of San Cristobal; using distinctive artifact forms to characterize and correlate strata between archaeological sites (using laws of superposition).


Christian Thomsen

Created the 3-age system from least to most complex technology of artifact types: Stone, Bronze, and Iron.