Archaeology 4th Edition
Chapter 1 Meet Some Real Archaeologists
Outline • Introduction • The Western World Discovers Its Past • Founders of Americanist Archaeology • Revolution in Archaeology: An Advancing Science • Archaeology in the Twenty-First Century • Conclusion: Archaeology's Future
First Archaeologist • Most historians list Nabonidus, the last king of the neo-Babylonian Empire as the “first archaeologist”. • Nabonidus rebuilt temples of ancient Babylon and searched the foundations for inscriptions of earlier kings. • He looked for answers to questions about the past in physical residues of antiquity.
The Western World Discovers Its Past • Fifteenth-century Italian scholar Ciriaco de’ Pizzicolli established the modern discipline of archaeology. • He translated the Latin inscription on the triumphal arch of Trajan in Ancona, Italy. • He devoted his life to studying ancient monuments, copying inscriptions, and promoting the study of the past.
Archaeology’s Alphabet Soup • BC - “before Christ” • Example: 3200 BC; letters follow the date. • AD - anno Domini, “in the year of the Lord” • A year after the birth of Christ. Letters are before the date - AD 1066. • The earliest AD date is AD 1. There is no AD 0 (use 0 BC to denote that date), double numbering is not allowed.
Archaeology’s Alphabet Soup • BP - “before present” • Many archaeologists are more comfortable using this age estimate with AD 1950 selected as the zero point. • A date in lower case, such as 3200 b.c. , denotes a date derived by radiocarbon methods and reflects radiocarbon years rather than calendar years.
Boucher de Perthes • In 1836, Perthes found ancient tools and bones of extinct mammals in the gravels of the Somme River. • He believed these proved the existence of ancient man. • Current religious thought was that human beings had only been on earth for 6000 years, so many didn’t believe him. • Some suggested the tools were produced by lightning, elves, or fairies.
More Discoveries • More finds were made in the gravel pits at St. Acheul and in southern England. • Respected British paleontologist Hugh Falconer and other scholars declared their support for Perthes’ findings in 1859. • This began the recognition that life was more ancient than Biblical scholars argued and human culture had evolved over time.
British Archaeology • These discoveries led to two divergent courses for British archaeology: • The problems of remote geological time and the demonstration of long-term human evolution. • The archaeology of ancient Greece and Rome, a field now known as classical archaeology.
Archaeology and Native Americans • American scholars saw living Native Americans as relevant to interpretation of archaeological remains. • Many Europeans saw Native Americans as “living fossils,” relics of times long past. • New World archaeology became connected to the study of living Native American people.
Elements Peculiar to New World Archaeology • Racist, anti–American Indian theories that dominated early 19th century American scholars. • The form of antiquity legislation in North America. • The fact that many Native Americans still do not trust conventional Western scholarship to interpret their past.
Branches of Archaeology • Classical archaeology - Studies civilizations of the Mediterranean, such as Greece and Rome, and the Near East. • Ethnology - Deals with the comparative study of cultures. • Americanist archaeology - Evolved in association with anthropology in the Americas; it is practiced throughout the world.
C. B.Moore: Genteel Antiquarian • At age 40, Moore was introduced to American archaeology and transformed himself from gentleman socialite to gentleman archaeologist. • Moore was an antiquarian, more interested in objects of the past than in reconstructing the lives of the people who produced them or in explaining the past.
Artifact • Any movable object that has been used, modified, or manufactured by humans. • Artifacts include stone, bone, and metal tools; beads and other ornaments; pottery; artwork; religious and sacred items.
Midden • Refuse deposit resulting from human activities, generally consisting of sediment. • Food remains such as charred seeds, animal bone, and shell; and discarded artifacts.
Nels Nelson: America’s First “Working” Archaeologist • Nelson learned largely by experience. • His first responsibility was to record what he saw, then to conduct a preliminary excavation where warranted, and finally to offer tentative inferences to be tested by subsequent investigators. • Nelson typified the early 20th century archaeologists, who strongly believed that archaeology should be brought to the public.
A. V. “Ted” Kidder: Founderof Anthropological Archaeology • Helped shift Americanist archaeology toward more anthropological purposes. • Maintained archaeology should be viewed as “that branch of anthropology which deals with prehistoric peoples,” a doctrine that has become firmly embedded and expanded in today’s Americanist archaeology.
James A. Ford: A Master of Time • Refined techniques to place the stages of pottery development in sequential order, a process known as seriation. • By assuming that cultural styles change gradually, archaeologists can chart a style through time and across space. • Ford’s seriation technique established the baseline prehistoric chronology still used in the American Southeast.
Walter W. Taylor: Moses in the Wilderness • Combined lines of evidence to create a picture of what the past was like and to discuss the functions of artifacts, features, and sites. • Urged archaeologists to forsake temples for garbage dumps. • Proposed that archaeologists quantify their data and test hypotheses that would refine their impressions.
Culture History • The kind of archaeology practiced in the early to mid-twentieth century. • It “explains” differences or changes over time in artifact frequencies by positing the diffusion of ideas between neighboring cultures or the migration of a people who had different mental templates for artifact styles.
Trait List • A simple listing of a culture’s material and behavioral characteristics, for example, house and pottery styles, foods, degree of nomadism, particular rituals, or ornaments. • Trait lists were used primarily to trace the movement of cultures across a landscape and through time.
Conjunctive Approach • As defined by Walter W. Taylor, using functional interpretations of artifacts and their contexts to reconstruct daily life of the past.
Lewis R. Binford:Visionary with a Message • Binford argued that archaeologists should acquire data that make samples more representative of the populations from which they were drawn. • He urged archaeologists to look beyond the individual site to the region so entire cultural systems could be reconstructed.
New Archaeology • An approach to archaeology that arose in the 1960s emphasizing the understanding of underlying cultural processes and the use of the scientific method. • Today’s version of the “new archaeology” is sometimes called processual archaeology.
Kathleen A. Deagan:Archaeology Comes of Age • A curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History, she specializes in Spanish colonial studies. • She is concerned with the people and culture behind the artifact and with explaining the social and cultural behaviors that she reconstructs from archaeology.
History of Archaeology: A Summary • In North America, archaeology began as the pastime of the curious and the wealthy, who lacked formal training. • Archaeology as a formal discipline dates to the mid nineteenth century and was characterized by a scientific approach and rigorous methods of excavation and data collection.
History of Archaeology: A Summary • By the 1950s, archaeology began to move beyond description and chronology to focus on the reconstruction of past lifeways. • This continued in the 1960s, with the addition of efforts to employ a scientific approach aimed at discovering universal laws and to develop theories to explain the human history uncovered by archaeology.
Archaeology Today • Today, archaeology covers both prehistoric and historic archaeology. • The number of archaeologists has grown dramatically since the 1960s. • The field represents many different theoretical perspectives and acknowledges the need to communicate results to the public.
1. Fifteenth-century Italian scholar Ciriaco de’ Pizzicolli is considered the “first archaeologist”. • True • False
Answer: B. False • Most historians list Nabonidus, the last king of the neo-Babylonian Empire as the “first archaeologist”.
2.The earliest AD date is AD 0. • True • False
Answer: B. False • The earliest AD date is AD 1. Use 0 BC to denote AD 0.
3. Which of the following is an example of an artifact: • Metal tools • Beads and other ornaments • Pottery • Religious and sacred items • All of the above
Answer: E • Metal tools, beads and other ornaments, pottery and religious and sacred items are examples of artifacts.