Mid term Flashcards Preview

Archaeology > Mid term > Flashcards

Flashcards in Mid term Deck (114)
Loading flashcards...


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 Christ
before common era
Anno domini (after death of Christ)
common era
before present
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?

-Applied archaeology
Redressing the past (injustice)?


Archaeological Record

those traces and material remains that document past human activity
-can be broken down by geography and time


Archaeological Methods

ways in which we discover recover, preserve, describe and analyse the archaeological record


Archaeological Theory

body of ideas that guide archaeologists in their work, and ultimately provides the means to interpret the archaeological record


Antiquarian Period

Prior to 1800s
pre-scientific pursuit
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


Giovanni Belzoni

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
Paleolithic archaeology


Georges Cuvier

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


James Hutton

18th century Scottish geologist

Proposed that the earth was formed slowly through natural processes such as accumulation, erosion etc.


Charles Lyell

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


Charles Darwin

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


Christian Thomsen

appointed curator in 1816
Organized artifacts by material and technology
Stone, Bronze, Iron
Chronological order
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
Bronze Age
Iron Age



Using ethnographic information to
try and explain archeological patterning
Ethnographic peoples as models for
Interpreting the past


Heinrich Schliemann

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


cultural change

Archaeologists examine artifact changes over time


Augustus Pitt Rivers

Initial interest in evolutionary
history of muskets
(musket form change over time)
Arranged his own collection in
evolutionary sequence
Argued: apply same analysis to any types of artifacts
Conducted excavations with military
Every find was recorded (contra Schliemann)