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ARCH 2126/6126 & BIAN 3010/6510. Co-ordinators for these 3-unit honours preparation classes:- Robert Attenborough (ARCH2126) Colin Groves (BIAN3010). How these courses link. They are distinct courses with partially different time slots

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Arch 2126 6126 bian 3010 6510 l.jpg

ARCH 2126/6126 & BIAN 3010/6510

Co-ordinators for these 3-unit honours preparation classes:-

Robert Attenborough (ARCH2126)

Colin Groves (BIAN3010)


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How these courses link

  • They are distinct courses with partially different time slots

  • ARCH 2126 runs 2 x 1 ½ hours per week, Mon 1-2.30, Wed 10-11.30

  • BIAN 3010 runs Wed 10-11.30, Fri 10-11.30: see separate info

  • ARCH 2126 runs in first 7 weeks, July-August, BIAN 3010 after that


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Techniques in Biological Anthropology

Lecturer: Prof Colin Groves


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Analytical Methods for Anthropology & Archaeology

ARCH 2126/6126

Session 1

Introduction


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… for Anthropology & Archaeology

  • Basically, though not exclusively, an Honours preparation course for the anthropological disciplines (incl. arch.)

  • How many here intending Honours or MA in:-

  •  Social/cultural anthropology? Biological anthropology? Archaeology?

  • Anyone else?


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Analytical Methods …

  • Analysis in the anthropological disciplines can be of many kinds: verbal, linguistic, intellectual etc.

  • For this course, the focus is on analysis through the use of numbers

  • Let’s be blunt: statistics

  • The textbooks already give this away


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Textbooks

  • Main textbook: Robert Drennan (1996) Statistics for Archaeologists: a Commonsense Approach. Plenum, NY.

  • Also recommended: Lorena Madrigal (1998) Statistics for Anthropology. Cambridge University Press.

  • Important difference between Drennan & Madrigal is more in their approach than in their discipline or their merit


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Historically …

  • “Historically, Statistics is no more than State Arithmetic … It has been used – indeed still is used – to enable rulers to know how far they may safely go in picking the pockets of their subjects … Taxation and military service were the earliest fields for the use of Statistics. For this reason was the Domesday book compiled.” M.J. Moroney 1956


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Various senses of the word

  • National statistics as in “Australian Bureau of Statistics”, cf. Moroney

  • Statistics is also a branch of the mathematical sciences: probability

  • Statisticians are not necessarily enthusiasts for calculation

  • Nor do they necessarily always share the same opinions on statistics


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Why should anthropologists & archaeologists study statistics?

  • I assume that, for most of you, it is not sheer love of it that brings you here

  • Anyone taken a statistics course?

  • Anyone afraid of statistics or convinced they are incapable of it? proudly innumerate?

  • Anyone feel statistical analysis is a badge of academic respectability rather than a truly necessary step in the research process?

  • Or that if figures show it, it must be true?


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So why are numerical analyses so common in our disciplines? statistics?

  • After all, we (mostly) became anthropologists/archaeologists out of curiosity & excitement about human beings, societies, cultures, artefacts, biology, evolution – not numbers

  • Let’s accept for the moment that numbers are helpful to us: will return to the reasons later


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The purpose of this course statistics?

  • You could have attended a formal statistics course run by a statistician

  • Here you do not get a statistician, but you get someone more familiar with the uses you have for numerical analysis

  • I aim for us to break down barriers to comprehension, develop confidence & competence, encourage thought in terms of probability & quantity, & practise a few basic methods of data presentation & analysis

  • We do not become statisticians


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Assessment: two items statistics?(three for postgrads)

  • Take-home open-book test: week 7

  • Results interpretation exercise:week 8

  • Weighting 50:50

  • For postgrads only, a third item: review of selected academic paper:week 10 (weighting 1/3:1/3:1/3)


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Structure of the course statistics?

  • 14 sessions, 1½-hours (maximum)

  • Normally no more than one hour lecture, ½-hr for questions, discussion, problems

  • Please draw my attention to good/bad uses of numerical data that you see in the media or in your academic reading

  • Self-paced STEPS tutorials (ADH LG29)

  • Adjunct ILP Excel & SPSS sessions: pls sign up: http://ilp.anu.edu.au/ARCH


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A little history: the role of computers statistics?

  • ‘Classical’ statistical theory and many of the tests in common use to this day were developed in the 1920s & 1930s

  • Choices made then were guided in part by need to keep calculations within feasible & tolerable limits

  • Since then & especially since 1970s computers have become able to do massive amounts of tedious arithmetic


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Hands on statistics?

  • This growth in computing power has implications for us at several levels

  • Practical statistics no longer involves facility with calculation: rather, ability to use computers to run packages

  • We have a laboratory at our disposal: AD Hope LG29, with 3 computers – we have priority use of it for self-paced work Wednesdays 1-5 pm


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Gathering data in the anthropological disciplines statistics?

  • Empirical research in any of these disciplines involves data gathering at times – though in very different styles

  • A socio-cultural anthropologist may collect a myth or a genealogy, observe a conversation or a ceremony, interview an informant, map and census a village or suburb


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And … statistics?

  • An archaeologist may describe, photograph or survey a site, draw a section, reconstruct a pot or a stone artefact, measure an artefact, sieve and analyse a soil sample, collect pollen or phytoliths, interview a traditional land owner, collect carbon or another material from which to estimate a date


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And … statistics?

  • A biological anthropologist may categorise a bone, fingerprint or blood group, count occurrences of a type of behaviour, undertake a craniometric or anthropometric measurement, weigh a baby, count malaria parasites in a blood sample, measure actual or self-reported food intake


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What are the data like? statistics?

  • Some are purely qualitative – interview transcripts etc.

  • But some are categorizations – we can count the numbers in the different categories

  • And others are actual measurements

  • Both of the last two are quantitative


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Our analytical methods here are for quantitative data statistics?

  • Why? The world is complex: there are few absolutes in the biological and social sciences – we need to be able to detect trends, patterns, relationships (e.g. smoking & cancer) which may not be simple or obvious,& may have counter-examples; & this is where good statistics can help

  • So: the discipline of statistics


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The purpose of statistics statistics?

  • To provide insight into situations and problems by means of numbers

  • How is this provided?

  • Numerical data are available or are collected

  • Data are organized, summarized, analysed and results presented

  • Conclusions are drawn, in context

  • Whole process is often guided by critical appraisal of similar work already done


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