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Anthropology 2


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historical archaeology
reconstruction of cultural systems of societies that have written records
ethnographic analogy
interpreting archaeological data through the observation of analogous activities in existing societies
forensic anthropology
a subfield of anthropology applied to legal matters: usually involved in the identification of skeletal remains and the assessment of time and cause of death.
experimental archaeology
The process of understanding ancient skills and technologies by reproducing them
methods of locating a site
-obvious sites
-accidental (farmer plowing turns up artifact)
-just by looking (especially where erosion exposes fossil beds)
test pit
an explanatory, usually small excavation made to establish the presence or absence of an archaeological site.
detailed extensive records must be kept on the location of every fossil
relative dating
dating that indicates the age of one item in comparison to another
absolute dating
dating that gives a specific age, year, or range of years for an object or site
referring to the decay rate of a radioactive substance
carbon dating
a radiometric dating technique using the decay rate of a radioactive form of carbon found in organic remains
the time needed for one-half of a given amount of a radioactive substance to decay
potassium/argon dating
a radiometric dating technique using the rate at which radioactive potassium found in volcanic rock decays into stable argon gas
-half-life is 1.3 billion years
bulb of percussion
a convex surface on a flake caused by the force used to split the flake off. Rarely found in a natural break
pressure flake
Taking a flake off a core by pushing a wood, bone, or antler tool against the stone
a toolmaking tradition associated with HomoErectus in Africa and Europe. Includes hand axes, cleavers, and flake tools.
a tool technology in which uniform flakes are struck from a prepared core
Archaic Homosapiens
a toolmaking technology, associated with the European Neandertals, in which flakes were carefully retouched to produce diverse tool types
small stone flakes, usually used as a part of a larger tool such as a sickle
Upper Paleolithic (Late Stone Age)
modern Homo sapians had spread all over the Old World and even as far as Australia
subfields of archaeology
-historical archaeology
-prehistorical archaeology
prehistorical archaeology
reconstruction of cultural systems that have no written records
objects modified by human activities. These can be removed from the archaeological site without damaging them
defined as non-portable object made by human activities. These cannot be removed from the archaeological site without causing damage either to the site as a whole or to them.
the spatial distribution of the artifacts and features
Stages of Archaeological research
-Analysis and Curation of the recovered materials
-some already unearthed
-some of the earthed items are discovered by accident
-surveys to discover archaeological site
pedestrian survey
a group of archaeologists walk on the surface of the ground after dividing the site into specific areas
aerial survey
satellite images are utilized in order to identify the archaeological sites and some of their features
vertical dimensions
represents the accumulations of sediments through time.
law of superposition
sequence of layers that represent age of artifacts
horizontal dimension
represents the placement of artifacts in time
-a crew of archaeologists dig the site and remove the materials
-grid system-used to locate every single artifact and/or feature in the site horizontally and vertically
analysis and curation of recovered materials
archaeologists analyze the materials and try to understand various cultural elements
relative techniques
absolute techniques
-carbon 14
exceptional cultural characteristics of Neandertals
-buried dead
-cared for sick, elderly and injured
venus figurines
women with exaggerated sexual characteristics, possible symbol of fertility
purposes of cave paintings
-fertility magic
-hunting magic
-hunting education
-storytelling about hunting
All cultures have...
-a material economy and technology
-a system of social organization
-a system of beliefs and values
Tree ring dating, the most accurate dating technique. Developed in the South West of the United States. Master chronology for more than 8000 years in the South West
approaches of interpreting archaeological data
-What are the kinds of artifacts found in the site?
-What are the features found in the site?
-What is the spatial distribution (horizontal and vertical) of the materials found in the site?
What kinds of questions are addressed by looking at the archaeologiccal materials?
-Socioeconomic status
Socioeconomic status
-body ornamentation
-materials buried with individuals
-medical treatment
-skeletal remains
-tool use
4 theories
-Mid-continental route
-Northwest route
-Pacific route
-Atlantic route
Mid-Continental route
-clovis, first model
-people from Asia come in through Canada during last ice age (13,000 BP-12,000 BP)
-they passed through the Bering Land Bridge
-provide an avenue for asians to pursue megafauna from Berinigia to Southern parts of continent
-10,900 BP became extinct in North and South America
-large and lived in large populations
-wooly mammoth, mastadon, giant ground sloth, giant beaver, camels
hypotheses for megafauna extinction
-Paul Martin's "overkill" hypothesis
-climate change hypothesis
Clovis tools
-After New Mexico town site of the first discovery in 1932 close to a town named Clovis
-Fluted projectile points hafted to spears
-12,000-11,000 BP
clovis sites
Monte Verde, Chile
Meadowcroft Rockshelter, PA
Problems with Mid-Continental route
-glaciers didn't recede until 12,000-13,000 BP
-sites dated older than clovis
-used by later migrants
-no archaeological remains from Bering Strait
Northwest route
-Deglaciation along Northwest coast 14000 BP
-Migrants used watercraft, colonized coastal areas
Pacific route
-explains sites in South America
-explains Australian/Melanasian morphology of earliest South Americans
Cultural history
-domestication of plants and animals
-development of state societies characterized by urban centers and social stratification
Hypotheses that explain the origin of Agriculture
-culture progress
-environmental change
-population pressure
culture progress
It states that agriculture is superior to foraging
environmental change
-agriculture arose by the end of Pleistocene
-rapid environmental change
-elevated sea level
-extinction of big game
-rapid climate warming
population pressure
-very famous in recent years
-wild resources became depleted and agriculture became worth doing
-most recent hypothesis
-mutual evolutionary effects of humans and plants or animals
-new ways to exploit wild resources
-plants and animals are opportunistic, have genetic plasticity
-performed by humans
-caring of crops
as a result of genetic plasticity, there are many genetic changes that take place in response to cultivation
Humans select plants based on the following traits
-grains with tougher stems
-plants with larger fruits and seeds
-plants with brittle husks
-plants that retain seeds longer
humans select animals based on the following traits
-smaller size
-milk production
-wool production
Times stages of agriculture
Hunting and gathering-Mesolithic
•end of archaic is the beginning of horticulture
Plants and animals domesticated in the new world
-maize (corn)
-earliest civilization in Central America
-Arose between 1200 and 1000 BC
-originated in the Gulf Coast region of Southern Mexico and expanded into Guatamala
-Ceremonial cities
-pyramids and temples builts from mud and earth
-the largest monuments are collosal heads with thick lips and helmets
-elite group-lived in urban area
-common people group-lived in rural area
-around the time of Christ 2000 BP
-monumental construction
-the city expanded to approxiametely 20 square km, 60,000 to 80,000 inhabitants
-state level
•capital city
•smaller urban centers
•rural villages
-Peak 1600 BP
-collapsed 1100 BP
-occupied the eastern third of Mesoamerica
-religiously and artistically united
-politically-compromised many sovereign states
-As many as 20 states existed in Yucatan peninsula
-aztecs came from the remote north around the early 13th century
-became sedentary by AD 1325, before that they were wandering around the Mexican valley
-state-level civilization
-collapsed with the arrival of the Spaniards
Advantages of agriculture
-surplus of food led to specialization
-increased food production led to increased fertility by lowering the weaning age
Disadvantages of Agriculture
-narrow spectrum dietary profile in contrast to hunter-gatherers
-less varied diet
-low protein diet
-more contact with animals led to diseases from domesticated animals to humans
-microorganisms increased with agriculture
-human societies became more vulnerable to infections, especially those requiring high population size and density
-stratified society
subsistence pattern
how a society acquires its food
a subsistence pattern that relies on naturally occuring sources of food
another name for hunter-gathering
the two subsistence patterns
-food collecting
-food producing
refers to religious system that recognizes multiple supernatural beings
social stratification
the presence of awknowledged differences in social status, political influence, and wealth among the people within a society
Forager traits
-post-partum sex taboo or infanticide
-division of labor (men hunt, women gather)
-not territorial
-most monogamous (5% polygynous)
the practice of not recognizing, and even eliminating, differences in social status and wealth
postpartum sex taboo
the practice of prohibiting sex for a certain period of time after a woman gives birth for purposes of limiting the birth rate
the killing of infants
small autonomous groups, usually associated with foraging societies
referring to societies that move from place to place in search of resources or in response to seasonal fluctuations
division of labor
when certain individuals within a society perform certain jobs, usually refers to the different jobs of men and women
labor specialization
when certain jobs are performed by particular persons
a marriage unit made up of only one husband and one wife
a marriage unit made up of one husband and multiple wives
evidence for food producing societies
-biological differences between wild and domestic plants and animals
intensive foraging
hunting and gathering in an environment that provides a very wide range of food resources
Why food producing?
-retreat of Pleistocene ice sheets and attendant climatic alterations
-population increase
Types of food producing
-focus on farming, use only human labor
-indigenous groups of Amazon rainforest, the forests of Central Africa and Southeast Asia, and the highlands of New Guinea
-live in larger groups
-populations sedentary
•specialized role when needed
-beginning of ownership
-concept of territory
•gods in hierarchy
-subsistence based on herding of animals
-dry savannas of East Africa, Indian subcontinent, Southwest Asia, TIbetan Plateau
-egalitarian within group, territorial with other groups
-men-herd animals women-household, child rearing
-ancestor worship
-use animal or mechanical labor
-big, stable, sedentary population
-social stratification
-a civilization
cultures with an agricultural surplus, social stratification, a formal government, rule by power, monumental construction projects, and a system of record keeping
sometimes recognized as a subsistence pattern. characterized by a focus on mechanical sources of energy and food production by a small percentage of the population.
a symbolic representation of wealth. used for exchange in place of actual products or services
general reciprocity
giving with no expectation of equivalent return
balanced reciprocity
giving with expectation of reciprocal return
market system
where money is used for exchange in place of goods and services
where surplus goods are collected centrally and then given out to those persons in need of them
3 aspects of social stratification
refers to a society that strives for equal distribution of goods and services but that achieves this through the use of recognized, often temporary status differences
a system of socioeconomic stratification in which the strata are often open and a person may move to a different stratum
a system of socioeconomic stratification in which strata are closed and a person's membership is determined at birth
a method of surveying cessium detectors
Archaeological anthropology
study material culture of past societies by digging the artifacts up.
material culture
Atlantic route
-suggested by Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradly
-Solutrean mantime hunters/fishers came along south margin of Atlantic sea ice to the New World during late Wisconsin
-showed similarities between Clovis tools and Solutrean tradition in Europe
What is the most plausible route?
Northwest route
Folsom culture
-known by material culture
-took name after excavation near Folsom east of Ralzon, NM
-artifacts: chipped flint points, variety of stone tools-some fluted/hafted
-projectile points are smaller than clovis, and thinner blades
-found in association with big mammal remain (bison)
-"surround kill" method
clovis v. folsom
-clovis evolved to folsom
-both modified point
-Folsom fluted more than 2/3, clovis less than 2/3
-folsom points are smaller and thinner
-mammoth-clovis bison-folsom
archaic culture-new technology
copper tools and woodworking
implements (axes and gouges)
seasonal migration
small bands moved based on availability of food and raw materials
new stone age
middle stone age

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