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Archaeology- Midterm 4


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ecological determinism
-changes in environment determine changes in society
-one method of explaining certain events
explaining events
-explain by event, pattern, class, or process
-way to classify/explain historical occurences
-constantly recurring assemblage of artifacts
-traditional archaeology way of classifying artifacts
-well defined ethnic group
-can be correlated to certain culture of artifacts for classification purposes
-movement of people from their homeland
-one way to track origin of certain cultures or artifacts
-spread of ideas, objects, or culture from a heart-land civilization
-opposes migration as a way to trace artifacts/culture
-similarities in one or more aspects of culture between different groups
-forms a basis for diffusion between different cultures
Great Zimbabwe
-civilization in Africa, first explored by Europeans in 1800's
-originally thought to be migration/diffusion of Europeans
-since proven wrong, no parallels found
Processual Archaeology
-isolate/study different processes at work within a society and between societies (econ, environ)
-how fit together to explain society through time
-earliest processual arch., uses scientific method (hypothesis)
-applied to hunter-gatherer, early farming societies
Marxist Archaeology
-application of Marxist principles to arch. (materialistic, social classes)
-similar to processual, considers long-term changes
-not as much bridge b/w theory and actual evidence
Evolutionary Archaeology
-natural selection/adaptation apply to cultural changes as well as biological
-application of Darwin's theories to archaeology
-value of concept of a lineage
Specific explanation
-seeks to know details surrounding events leading up
-if understand leading up events, can understand event itself better
-stress on understanding thoughts of time
General explanation
-based on scientific laws
-event X is always followed by Y
-very strict, not always accurate
-every belief/statement is scrutinized and verified
-doesn't have same reliance on science/laws
Origins of State
-how structure developed around the world
-find overarching explanation that maintains individualism of each place
Population growth
-increase in population is capped by the amount of food
-population increase led to need for more food, led to increased agriculture and need for more organization
-explanations which emphasis a single factor
-not very thorough, many more factors at work
-take into account multiple factors on event
-more throrough that monocausal explanations
Systems Theory
-a culture is a system, with inputs, outputs, and feedback mechanisms
-take into account all factors operating within the society
-thorough examination of culture
-of the input into the system, some is channeled back to form continuing part of input
-what is happening to system at one point will also affect points in the future
Negative feedback
-input goes back to alter original change
-countering of a change makes for stability
-a system is maintained in a constant state through the operation of negative feedback
-keeps same culture, natures for balance in society
Positive feedback
-change produced incurs further change in same direction
-key process underlying progressive growth and change/emergence of totally new forms
-formulation of a dynamic model, concerned with change through time
-helpful in the development of explanations
Peru: origins of state
-environmental and population growth factors
-"primary mover"- main process that sets sequence of events
-monocausal, focuses on very specific causes
-explained in terms of systems theory
-focused on relationship between subsystems, no emphasis on any one
-multiplier effect- changes in one field act on other fields
-leads to positive feedback, change
Mayan Collapse
-fall based on systems theory, disequilibrium between subsystems
-analyzing different causal factors to find right one
Postprocessual/interpretive explanation
-created to overcome limitations of processual archaeology
-individualizing approach, based on neo-marxism and structuralism
Structuralist approach
-human actions are guided by beliefs and symbolic concepts
-proper object of study is structures of thoughts
-major basis for postprocessual study
Critical Theory
-all knowledge is historical, distorted communication
-"objective" knowledge is illusory
-seek more enlightened view, no such thing as objectional fact
-question most current methods of archaeology
Neo-Marxist Thought
-ideological in shaping change in early societies
-popular in arch. of emerging third world countries
Cognitive-Processual Archaeology
-in mainstream of processual arch.
-explain rather than merely describe, generalizations
-incorporate cognitive info of early societies
-ideology is an active force within societies
-2 main directions: role of symbols, exploration of structure of transformations
European Megaliths
-large stone structures underground that served as burial chambers
-interpreted by migrationist/diffusionist, functional-processual, neo-marxist, and postprocessual explanations
-none really contradicted eachother
-reconcile agency of individual with long-term consequences of actions
-permit discussion of role of individual in promoting change
-draws on symbolic and cognitive aspects

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