Flashcards in Mid term Deck (114)
It is the scientific study of human past throught its material remains.
Gains knowledge through a scientific method of inquiry
Relies heavily on empirical evidence
Must consider ALL the evidence and construct hypotheses (theories)
Based on very selective evidence, or no evidence
empirical: something that can be seen, touched, measured etc.
Erich Von Daniken
King of Pseudoarchaeology
Pacal's coffin stone-aliens
The goals of archaeology
1) To reconstruct lifeways of the people that created the archaeological record
2) To explain why people did things the way they did, particularly why cultures changed over time
Kinds of Archaeology
1) Prehistoric: study of the human past before written records
2) Historical: study of the past where written records are used together
3) Classical: specific kind of historical archaeology focusing on Greece and Rome.
4) Underwater/Marine: study of shipwrecks, but also marine activities of coastal dwelling peoples
that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by [a person] as a member of society.
before common era
Anno domini (after death of Christ)
Millions of years ago
Types of archaeologists
1. Academic: research (Universities, Museums, Govt., Parks Canada)
2. Consultant: heritage conservation
E.g. BC Association of Professional Archaeologists
3. Avocational: based on interest (public)
e.g. Archaeological Society of B.C. www.asbc.bc.ca
Why do archaeology?
-Simple curiosity – natural in humans
-Contribution to knowledge
-A way of understanding who we are as a species?
How did we come to be who we are?
What can we learn from our past?
Redressing the past (injustice)?
those traces and material remains that document past human activity
-can be broken down by geography and time
ways in which we discover recover, preserve, describe and analyse the archaeological record
body of ideas that guide archaeologists in their work, and ultimately provides the means to interpret the archaeological record
Prior to 1800s
collecting of artifacts as curiosities
little attempt to understand societies
explanations derived from biblical theology and scripture
The Rosetta Stone – found in 1799
Jean-Francois Champollion Deciphers hieroglyphs on Rosetta Stone in A.D. 1822
The most infamous tomb robber (looter) of all time
Archbishop James Ussher – 17th century AD
chronologyProclaims that the world was created on the evening before October 23, 4,004 B.C.
John Frere -1797
Finds tropical animals and stone axes in English gravel beds
Jacques Boucher de Perthes -1836
Considered by some to be the “father” of
Late 18th century
Studied dinosaurs bones and geology
Realized that dinosaurs once “ruled” the earth
Explained extinction of dinosaurs through flooding, before humans were created
Theory of Catastrophism
18th century Scottish geologist
Proposed that the earth was formed slowly through natural processes such as accumulation, erosion etc.
The Principles of Geology 1830-33
Created by Charles Lyell
a single set of processes can account for both past and present geological forms
Natural processes created the world as we see it (Implications: the earth is dynamic and continually changing)
Therefore: the earth must be much older than 6,000 years
Present is a key to the past
On the Origin of Species (1859)
Showed how organisms could change over time natural selection
Implication: humans could be much older than 6,000 years
“Modern” Archaeology Period
begins in 1800s with revolutions in geological and evolutionary thinking
realization of depth of time represented in archaeological and geological record
scientific principles come to govern the study of the past
concerns with the workings of past societies
appointed curator in 1816
Organized artifacts by material and technology
Stone, Bronze, Iron
J.J.A. Worsaae took Thomsen’s ideas and applied them to archaeological sites throughout Europe
Organized sites in chronological order
Modified Thomsen scheme
Old stone age: Paleolithic
Middle Stone age: Mesolithic
New Stone age: Neolithic
Using ethnographic information to
try and explain archeological patterning
Ethnographic peoples as models for
Interpreting the past
Born in early 19th century
Became interested in epic tales of Homer, especially the Trojan war
Wanted to know where ancient town of Troy was located
Schliemann knew that Troy would have been a big opulent town, with temples and grand architecture, treasure, etc.
1870: Schliemann begins excavations at Hissarlik
Employs 150 local people as excavators
1873: begins finding architectural remains and large hordes of metal objects, including gold
1875 Announces that he has found Troy
Sneaks all treasure out of country
-goes on display at Berlin Museum in 1881 and disappears
More recently scholars have questioned Schliemann’s actual role in “finding” Troy
Archaeologists examine artifact changes over time