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plant and animal remains found at a site. reconstruct what natural environments looked like; soil, charcoal, pollen & microbial agents
any movable object that has been used, modified or manufactured; bones, stone, metal, pottery (doesnt have to be complete)
cannot be taken away without destroying it. Only able to note it, draw it, photograph it, etc.;hearths, burrows, pits, monuments
human and natural actions that work together to create an archeaological site. could be topographic, geographical
what is the national historical preservation act
legislation intended to preserve historical and archaeological sites in the United States of America.
several characteristics of the scientific approach
- Science is:
- self critical
working from specific observations to more general hypothesis
reasoning from theory to account for more specific observational or experimental results.
- *if then statements
- *conclusion must be true if premises are true
- answer to a why question
- explanation for observed, empirical phenomena
low level theory
- observations and interpretations that emerge from hands on archaeological field and lab work
- little thought given to the theory
- depends on theory
- relevant observations made on objects that serve as basis for study
middle level theory
hypothesis that links archaeological observations with the human behavior or natural processes that produced them.
high level theory
theory seeks to answer large why questions
- most abstract, yet most important concept
- overarching framework for understanding how the world works that each researcher brings to a particular question or problem.
- two basic paradigms: processual & post processual.
_____ is culturally constructed. Not all people perceive this the same.
without _____ & _____ we cannot understand archeaology properly. Fundamentally at the heart of all archaeological research.
space & time
what is the difference between archaeology chronology and history?
- History is the study of texts of the past
- Archaeology looks at objects trying to determine where in linear time they date to
for archeaologist, time is _____
what are some problems with chronology?
- Egyptians dont give dates - historians have to figure it out.
- egyptian calendar is off from the solar year and stellar events
- 12 months, 3 weeks, +5days. 3 seasons.
The heliacal rise of Sirius (Sothis)
considered an “ideal” if it co-occurred with New Year’s Day. Occurs every 1460 years.
the sothis cycle
notes that in 139 AD the first day of the Egyptian civil year and the heliacal rising of Sirius did actually coincide.
When dates are expressed as relative to one another. Does not give calendrical dates. Ex:mustangs earlier, later, more recent, after etc.
Tries to get us specific time and chronology. Dates that are expressed as specific units of scientific measurement, such as days, years, centuries, millennia etc. Absolute dates attempt to pinpoint a discrete and known interval in time.
What calendar do we use now? What did we switch from?
- Gregorian - 1582 ad we adopted the gregorian calendar bc of wanting Easter to land on the same time
- switched from Julian
A law in the natural sciences that
stipulates that geological layers are deposited in a time sequence with the
oldest at the bottom and the youngest at the top.
law of superposition
When might the law of superposition be reversed?
- not always the case that things on the bottom are older due to other factors:
- tectonic shifting
- bioturbation (objects moving up bc of animals and plants acting upon soil)
'the end before which': type of dating is used to show that something cannot be later than, or earlier than, something else.
terminus ante quem
"limit after which," is used to indicate the date after which an artifact must have been deposited. (latest date of evidence)
Terminus post quem
C(carbon)14 dating or radiocarbon dating
- 1949 willard libby won nobel prize
- determines age of archeological artifacts of a biological origin up to about 50,000 years old.
- produced in upper atmosphere of earth
- all living organisms absorb carbon
- used in dating bone, cloth, wood, plant etc
half life of c14
how do we measure c14 in organisms?
when organisms die they stop takin in c14 and start to decay. We then measure C14 and get a ratio and try to attach to calendrical date.
what changed c14 ratio?
C14 dating problems
- De Vries effect
- reservoir effect
C14 dating problem: Reservoir effect
C14 and C12 in the ocean are different than in the atmosphere which then gives widely different dates. C14 is depleted in marine animals which can provide ages of hundreds of years.
radiocarbon measures are made using?
accelerator mass spectrometry
C14 dating problem: De Vries effect
- the assumption that radiocarbon rate is constant
- C14 is not produced in the atmosphere at the same time therefore C14 needs to be calibrated
what is dendrochronology?
- Andrew E Douglass - (astronomer) established dendrochronology principles
- before c14 dating
- is the dating and study of annual rings in trees.
- can be used to obtain absolute & calendrical dates
- used to determine paleoclimates
- used to calibrate radiocarbon dates
pioneer of american southwestern archaeology
- good to about 1000 years
- measures decay of K40 to Ar40
- K40 has very long half life
- K-Ar dating is only effective on volcanic rock formed before 100,000 years ago
what does potassium argon date?
*material must be handled with precaution due to oils in the hand and cigarette smoking transferred to porous artifacts
the arrangement of a collection of artifacts into a chronological sequence.
done in conjunction with radiocarbon dating