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The History of Archaeology

Archaeology- study of past human activity through recovery and scientific analysis of
material remains

4004 BC- when everything started (belief before)

Right methods + Right questions (methods of archaeo can give us info about the
prehistoric past before invention of writing)

Aspects of Archaeology: Questions/ideas/theories > Research methods >

History of archaeo- history of ideas/theory/questions
History of developing research methods, employing ideas, and investingating
Last, history of actual discoveries

Ideas and theories continue to evolve


Last native king of Babylon
Keen interest in antiquities
Found a foundation stone laid 2200 years before

William Stukely
Proved that stone monuments (Devilwerent made by devils but by humans in

1st excavation in the New World by Carlos de Siguenza y Gongora in Teotihuacans

Pyramid of the Moon


Thomas Jefferson- conducted 1st scientific excavation; resolve Moundbuilders

question; found that mounds were used as burials; end of speculative phase

Richard Colt Hoare-burial mounds in Southern Britain; still within the framework 4004
BC restriction


Development of the science of geology

James Hutton: Theory of the Earth; established uniformitarianism (the past was
much like the present) basis of archeo excavation

Charles Lyell: Principles of Geology


humans havent been here for long

Jacques Boucher de Perthes- association of hand-axes and extinct animal bones;

concluded longer human existence; theory not accepted

John Evans & Joseph Prestwitch- validated Jacquess theory


Charles Darwin
On the Origin of Species- evolution; gradual change
The Descent of Man- natural selection/survival of the fittest


C.J. Thomsen: published guidebook to the National Museum of Copenhagen and

Guide to Northern Archaeology

Stone Age (Paleo-&Neolithic), Bronze Age, Iron Age

Before: Layers of land (top-bottom): Iron-Brass-Stone

Now: Iron-Bronze-Stone


Antiquity of humankind, principle of evolution, Three Age System framework for

studying the past

Typology- arrangement of artifacts in chronological/developmental sequence

The Variety of Evidence


Artifacts: portable objects; stone tools, pottery, metal weapons

EX: Info from clay

Produce a date
Source of clay: interactions; imports/exports
Pictorial decoration on surface: use typological sequence; faith
Shape: food residues; function

Feautres- non-portable artifacts; postholes, hearths, floors, ditches

Structures- complex features; buildings; houses, granaries, palaces, temples, roads

Ecofacts-or non-artifactual organic and environmental remains; human, animal and

plant remains, and soils and sediments; can tell diet and environmental conditions

Archaeological site- place where all evidences are found together, where significant
traces of human activity are identified; size doesnt matter
Skara Brae, Orkney north coast of Scotland, 5-6 TH y.o.,, excavated by Gordon
Childe, discovered in 1850 after storm removed sand to reveal island, Neolithic age


Context-most crucial to understand the context of the find in understanding past

human activity at a site
Matrix- material surrounding the find; gravel, sand or clay
Provenience- horizontal and vertical position within the matrix; exact location
and depth
Association- occurrence with other finds, usually in the same matrix

Primary Context- undisturbed site

Secondary Context- disturbed by humans, animals and forces of nature (ice sheets,
water); more difficult to deal with sites disturbed in antiquity; must be distinguished from
primary context


Robber Trench- salvaged and looted in antiquity > lost walls and evidences

Looting- evident in modern times and in antiquity (e.g. Egyptian tombs)

Early antiquarian investigation


Affected taphonomy (laws of burial; what happens after finds are buried)

Cultural/anthropogenic formation processes: deliberate or accidental human activities
Natural/Noncultural formation processes: natural forces that govern burial and
survival of archaeological record (e.g. volcanic eruption)

Vital to accurate reconstruction of human activity


Original human behavior is often reflected archaeologically in 4 major activities:

Acquisition of raw material
Use and distribution
Disposal or discard

Catal Hoyuk- excavated Neolithic site

Deliberate burial- major aspect of original human behavior that left its mark on
archaeological recors

Hoards&Burial of the dead- prime source of evidence for certain periods

Human destruction of the archaeological record- caused by burials; deliberate or


Inorganic materials survive better than organic

Inorganic Materials
Stone tools- over 2M years old; main source of evidence during the Paleolithic period
Fired clay- pottery and baked mud brick/adobe; indestructible if well fired; damaged
by acid soil and humid conditions
Metals- gold, silver, lead;[Oxidation > disintegration; copper&bronze- green deposit;
iron- rust/red deposit]

Survival determined by matrix and climate
Matrix- sediment/soil
Chalk- preserve human and animal bones (+inorganic)
Acid soil- destroy bones and wood; leave discoloration I postholes and hut
Metal Ore- (e.g. copper) favor organic remains; prevent activity of destructive
Salt- preserve organic finds
Local climate (e.g. cave as natural conservatory that protect evidence inside
from outside climactic effects
Regional climate more important
Tropical- destructive [vegetation: destructive but hide sites from looters]
Temperate- not beneficial to organic materials; ex. Vindolanda

Natural Disasters-preserve sites; ex. Pompeii, Skara Brae, Orkney

Majority of sites are dry

Low moisture content = poor preservation of organic


Waterlogged environments
Preserve organic finds thru anaerobic conditions
Wetland sites: lakes, swamps, marshes, fens, peat bogs
John Coles, one of the pioneers of wetland archaeo

Peat Bogs
Tollund Man- Iron Age, 4th BC, very well preserved; ritual killing; found in peat bogs

Bog Bodies- best known finds from the peat bogs of northwest Europe

Lake dwellings- Crannogs- lake dwelling in Scotland

Dry environments
Aridity- dry environment; ex. Egyptian mummies; prevents decay thru shortage of
water which prevents survival of bacteria

Cold environments- natural refrigeration can preserve

**Good environment conditions = Survival of materials

Survey and Excavation of Sites and Features

Research design- used to plan outset and objectives of research

Formulation- test hypothesis/question
Collecting and recording of evidence
Processing and analysis- interpret evidence
Publication- articles, book ( moral obligation)

Site surface survey and subsurface detection: use non-destructive remote sensing
Methods used in discovery
Methods used after discovery (detailed survey and selective excavation)
Documentary Sources- desk-based survey; ex. Homer, Bible; comparison of old&new
Cultural Resource Management and Applied/Compliance Archaeo- commercial
archaeo; locate and record sites before they are destroyed by new roads, buildings and
dams; not very evident in PH
Reconnaissance Survey- look for most prominenkt remains in a landscape (walls,
burial mounds)
locate off-site/non-site (areas with low density of artifacts; reflect mobile way of life)
growth of regional studies (study settlement patterns distribution of sites within
less destructive than excavation
phenomenology- individual reaction to landscape
Survey in Practice
Maximum information for minimum cost and effort (determine intensity of surface
coverage of the survey)
1. Define region (boundary) natural (valley/island; easiest to establish), cultural
(artifact style), arbitrary (e.g. northern Luzon)
2.Examine history of development- previous excavations and what was found?
Mining, flooding, earthquakes?
3.Time&Resources- excavation is expensive (labor + equipments)
4. Area Accessibility
2 kinds of surface survey: unsystematic (fieldwalking walk in straight path to look
for objects on surface and study patterns; more biased and misleading) and
systematic (grid system, transects/straight path; easier to plot location)
Necessary: small excavation to supplement or check data, and test hypothesis
**Hadrians Wall- built by Emperor Hadrian; north of England; protection from tribes;
2000 years old
Data Collecting taking photos from aircraft / satellites
Data analysis- images are analyzed, interpreted and integrated with other evidences
Aerial Images- data collected
2 types: Oblique (images taken from air; easier to view and understand; often
targeted on archaeological features)
Vertical (result from non-archaeological surveys; need more thorough examination)
**Crop marks (crop differences that serve as main media thru which aerial survey
record presence of features) : Ditch bigger crops; Wall- smaller crops
Also known as Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS)
Can be used anytime during the day
Advantages: can see into woodland; move the angle and azimuth of the sun to
enable ground features to be viewed under optimal lighting
Ex. Caracol, Balize- Mayan city (550-900 AD); first application of LIDAR in a large site
25 years of excavation (by Arlen and Diane Chase) 23 km2 > used LIDAR: 24
Led to discovery of new ruins, agricultural terraces, stone causeways
**Only excavation can verify ALL findings


Recording in radar images the return of pulses of electromagnetic radiation sent out
from aircraft


Process radar images for high-resolution results (data for maps, databases, land-use

Rapid, undestructive alternative to surface survey

Advantages: day or night, regardless of weather condit

International Greater Angkor Project

Found that the vas ruins of 1000-year-old temple complex of Angkor in northern
Cambodia may cover an area of up to 3000 km2
Ruins shrouded in dense jungle and surrounded by landmines
Most important discovery so far: network of ancient canals surrounding the city
Application of SAR


Recording- adds discovered sites to sum total of knowledge about the archaeology of
a region

Mapping-key to accurate recording of most survey data

Topographic maps- represent differences in elevation/height thru contour lines and

help relate ancient structures to surrounding landscape

Planimetric maps- exclude contour lines and topographic info; concentrate on broad
lines of features; help understand relation of different buildings to each other


Now one of the standard used

Collection of computer hardware and software, and of geographic data

Designed to obtain, store, manage, manipulate, analyze, and display wide range
spatial information

Combines database w/ powerful digital mapping tools

Predictive modelling
One of the earliest and most widespread uses of GIS
Underlying premise: particular kinds of sites tend to occur in the same kinds of place
How likely to contain an archaeological site based on environmental characteristics
Can be done for an entire landscape (predictive map for the whole area)
For areas too large for ground survey
Environmentally deterministic;* need for more humanistic appreciation of landscape


Subsurface detection (involve site disturbance)

Probes- test change in resistance; use either metal rods (w/ T-shaped handle) or
augers (large corkscrews); note positions where they strike solids/hollows

shovel test pits (1 m2)- to gain preliminary idea of what lies beneath the surface;
show what an area has to offer; identify extent of possible site

Ground-Based Remote Sensing (non-destructive)

Ground Penetrating Radar
Electrical resistivity- damper soil = better conductor; works well for ditches and pits
in chalk and gravel, and masonry in clay; drawback: slow results & doesnt function
on too hard/dry soil
Magnetic survey methods: locate fired clay structures
Metal detectors- detect buried remains and metal objects

**Staffordshire Hoard- 1300 years old; 1500 pcs gold and silver found > divided in
British museums

Central method
Yields most reliable evidence for human activities at a particular point in the past and
changes in those activities from period to period

Contemporary activities (occur at the same time) occur horizontally thru time
Changes in those activities occur vertically thru time (analyzed by the study of

Law of Superposition- where 1 layer overlies another, the lower was deposited first
Study and validation of stratification the analysis in the vertical, time
dimension of a series of layers in the horizontal, space dimension

Methods of Excavation (can emphasize either horizontal or vertical dimension)

Wheeler box-grid- satisfy both horizontal &vertical requirements; used in Gobeki
**Sir Mortimer Wheeler- pioneer excavator in 50s-60s; wheeler box-grid is named
after him
Open area excavation- alternative to Wheeler method; norm in British archaeology;
often used in compliance archaeo (where land will be destroyed anyway)
Step-trenching- for dangerously deep excavations; used at the Koster site, Illinois
Cofferdam- for extremely deep excavations and shipwreck excavations (underwater

Recovery and Recording of Evidence

Total Record of Excavation

Dictated by the resources of excavation
Site notebooks, scaled drawings, photos
Recovered artifacts and animal/plant remains
Context sheets most important
Provenience of artifacts
Site catalogue cross-reference everything
^^Basis of all interpretations (long process of post-excavation analysis)


Field laboratory procedure: specialized activity that demands careful planning and
2 aspects: cleaning of artifacts (not required; potential food and blood residues) and
artifact classification (based on surface, shape, and technological attributes)

Typology: artifacts with similar attributes; order

Assemblages-groups of artifact/feature types at a particular time and place

Cultures: groups of assemblages

Curation- conservation of objects/materials for future use

Publication- interim reports and full-scale monograph

Dating Methods and Chronology


Timescale- relative to a fixed point in time

Christian- birth of Christ (Anno Domina/AD 1); clearest/easiest to understand
Muslim- date of the Prophets departure from Mecca (AD 622 in the Muslim calendar)
Archaeologists: Before Common Era (BCE) / In the Common Era (CE)
International neutral system: Before Present (BP) starts at 1950 AD (approximate
year of the establishment or radiocarbon dating)

Degree of error is inevitable- expressed in age bracket

RELATIVE DATING (if absolute date is impossible; the idea that something is
older/younger relative to something else)

Study of stratification - laying down strata/deposits one over another
Goal: date materials within deposits (underlying deposit is older than overlying
Consider human/natural disturbances
Sequence of sealed deposits (undisturbed) = relative chronology (of time of burial)
Objects in association buried at the same time
Interconnect stratigraphic sequences with absolute dating methods = most reliable
Reconstruct and date human activities and behavior that the deposits represent
(ultimate goal)
Typological Sequences (relative dating thru typology)
Each period has a recognizable style (shape and dcor). Later gradual change in
Seriation- allows assemblages to be arranged in succession or serial order
Shape (practical), frequence (transition of types of pottery is observed)
Climate and Chronology
Deep-Sea Cores and Ice Cores- most coherent climactic changes; foraminiferamarine organisms found in deep-sea cores lying on ocean floors
*Geological Period (the Quatenary vs Tertiary )
*Glacials (cold episodes of deep-sea cores) and interglacials (warm episodes)
Pollen Dating- durability of pollen grains yield environmental evidence as far back as
3M yrs ago (ex. East Africa); best known pollen sequence in northern Europe
(elaborate succession of pollen zones covers the last 18k years or so)
ABSOLUTE DATING (to know the full/absolute age in years before the present))
Calendar and Historical Chronologies- 1st dating method
The Maya Calendar 332 BC (Alexander the Great); related to Egyptian dynasty;
declares end of the present world on 23 December 2012
Historical Chronology: use of coins, foreign pottery, and other artifacts that carry
Terminus post quem (Date after which)
Terminus ante quem (date before which
*Cross-dating extend chronological linkages thru exports and imports of objects
Dendrochronology- tree-ring dating (modern)
Developed by A.E. Douglass
Uses: calibrate/correct radiocarbon dates (using using long tree-ring sequences), and
independent method of absolute dating
Method: the older the tree, the narrower the rings; effects of climate:
Arid region rainfall above average thick ring
Temperate region cold narrow ring
Arizona: California; Bristlecone- 4900 yrs
Europe: oak-northern
Ireland- 5300 BC (Bog oaks preserved)
Germany- 8500 BC
Limitations: only applies to trees outside the tropics; restricted to wood that yielded
master sequence back from present, used in the past, and samples afford a long
record to give a unique match
Radiocarbon dating (main dating tools for the last 50k years)
Principles of c14 dating: excess c14 when organism did; for anything organic
Willard Libby (1949) published 1st radiocarbon dates; it takes 5568 yrs for hald the
c14 in any sample to decay its half-life (later found 5730 yrs)

- devised an accurate means of measurement (traces of c14 are reduced by half after
5730 yrs)
Calibration of Radiocarbon dates- thru dendrochronology
Accelerator Mass Spectometer (AMS)- enables dating of very small samples
Contamination of radiocarbon samples: before; during and after; context of
deposition; date of context [leads to erroneous results]
Limited Timespan

Potassium-argon: date rocks, and human (hominin) sites in Africa

Uranium-series: based on radioactive decay of isotopes of uranium; useful for the

period 500k-50k yrs ago (lies outside time range of radiocarbon dating); useful for
clarifying when a site was occupied by early humans

Thermoluminescence (TL) can date crystalline materials (mineral) buried in the

ground that have been fired (ex. Pottery, baked clay, burnt stone, burnt soil) pottery; not

**Callao Cave, Luzon - Cagayan

Callao Man; older than Tabon Man; used uranium-series for dating, 67000 years old

Turin Shroud piece of cloth with the image of a mans body; believed to be actual
imprint of Christs body; burial shroud of Christ (speculation); dated 14th century AD (not
from the time of Christ)

Rock Art/ Cave Paintings pigment/charcoal is used


Thera Eruption- Akrotiri; destruction of Minoan palaces in Crete; late Minoan 1B/ 1450
**Issue: mismatch of dates > pottery sequence might be wrong
**Correlation of different methods is important!

**Quaterness Oarkney


Latest context at the top; earliest context at the bottom

Direct Stratigraphic Contact: lines linking

Stratigraphic relations
In superposition (A above B)
Not superposition (A stratigraphically related to B)
No valid stratigraphic relation

Temporal relations
A earlier/later than B
A is contemporary with B
Temporal relation of A and B is unknown

**Phosphate Levels- presence of bone

**Excarnation exposure of corpse
Social Archaeology


Polity-largest social unit; politically independent social unit which may comprise many
lesser components

Classification of Societies
Mobile Hunter-Gatherers (bands)
Small-scale society
Generally fewer than 100 people
Members are kinsfolk (related by descent/marriage)
Lack formal leaders (no economic differences; classless society)
Seasonal occupation
Represent utopian society

Segmentary Societies (tribes)

Not more than a few thousand
Settled agricultural village
Officials lack economic power
Dispersed settlement pattern: isolated, permanently occupied houses
Nucleated sp: permanent villages
Agglomerate structures- clusters of buildings grouped together
2k-20k persons
Operate on the principle of ranking
Governed by a chief
Prestige and rank are determined by how closely related one is to the chief
Local specialization in craft products
Existence of permanent ritual and ceremonial center (center focus for entire polity)
Early States (ex. Egypt)
A lot similar to chiefdom
Ruler has power to establish and enforce law through an army
No longer depends on kin relationships
Class stratification
Collection of revenue/taxes
Complex redistributive systems
Settlement pattern: cities (large population center often more than 5000
The Survey
Goal: discover hierarchy of settlement
Locate major centers and establish the nature of more modest sites
Teotihuacan Effect (Kent Flannery) result of random stratified sampling; *T- huge
urban site in the Valley of Mexico that flourished in the 1st millennium AD
Go for the center(s) have most impressive monuments and finest artifacts; may be
recorded in archaeological literature
Settlement Patterning- possible site categories: Regional Center, Local Center,
Nucleated Village, Dispersed Village, and Hamlet
Central Place Theory- developed by Walter Christaller; for uniform landscape,
perfectly regular and equidistant spatial patterning of settlements; hexagonal shape;
too ideal
Site Hierarchy- sites listed by size; usually more small villages/hamlets than large
towns/cities; the more hierarchical the settlement pattern, the more hierarchical the
Thiessen Polygons- limited to sites of the size and contemporaneity (time occupied)
Written Records- for literate societies; used for commercial records and historical
texts; coins inscriptions; decipherment of ancient languages
Sites: Mesoamerica, China, Egypt, Mycenean Greece (transactions), Ebla,Syria (5000
clay tablets), Maya, Mesopotamia
Oral Tradition and Ethnohistories
Non-literate societies
Oral Trad- poems/hymns/sayings handed on from generation to generation by word of
mouth; ex. Hymns of Rigveda (earliest Indian religious texts, Homers Trogan War,
Iliad, and Odyssey
Problem: cant demonstrate period

Ethnohistories- study of oral tradition by colonists/indigenous writers

Involves the study of the present-day use and significance of artifacts
Indirect approach to understanding past society
Looking at living societies to interpret the past
Ex. Lewis Binford- attempted to interpret sites of Middle Paleolithic of France through
the Nunamiut Eskimo ( moden day hunter gatherer group in Alaska); observed drop
zone (where small fragments of bone fell as they were broken) and toss zone (where
larger pieces are thrown); thru this observation, he was able to reinterpret the plan
of one habitation at the French Paleolithic site of Pincevent (excavator: Andrei LeroiGourhan
Investigating Activities within a Site
Cave sites- debris scattered within the cave itself and immediately outside it
Open sites- deposits (without the protection of the caves) suffered greater erosion
Glynn Isaac Early Paleolithic sites of Koobi For a; bones were found to be primary
deposits; activity areas (demarcating areas where hominins broke open bones to
extract marrow) were determined
Investigating Territories in Mobile Societies
Study of territories can reveal social behavior
Application of ethnoarchaeology
Investigating Settlements in Sedentary Societies
Not considered in isolation
Site Catchment Analysis (estimation of the productive capacity of the immediate
environs of the site)- agglomerate, dispersed, neolithic
The Study of Ranking from Individual Burials
Close analysis of grave goods can reveal much about disparities in social status
Ranking is not expressed solely in the grave goods but in the entire manner of burial
Burial method- tells one how they DIED not how they LIVED
Ex. Man of Menton, Caves of Balzi Rosi: deviant burials indicate social status
Collective Works and Communal Action
How much labor was invested in monuments? Largest monuments of early Neolithic
required 100 000 hours of work to construct
Silbury Hill demanded 18M hrs & 3000 individuals suggests the kind of mobilization
of resources indicative of a more centralized, chiefdom society
How are monuments distributed in the landscape?
Analuze spatial distribution of monuments in relation to other monuments,
settlement and burial remains
Draw Thiessen polygons; consider land use
Which individuals are associated with the monuments?
Investigate relationship between individuals and monuments
Ex. If associated to a prominent individual = indication of high rank of individual
Chambered tomb at Quanterness in Orkney Islands communal tomb
Relationships between Segmentary Societies
Look for ritual centers that served as periodic meetings of several groups
Study sources of artifacts = indicate geographical extent of the network of contacts
represented at each center
Feasting public consumption of food and drink is a special feature of periodic
Farming Methods and Craft Specialists

Intensification of food production manifested by introduction of new farming

methods (plowing, terracing, irrigation), use of low-quality land as better land grew
scarce, and exploitation of secondary products (ex milk, wool)
Meat of domestic animals- primary product
Labor-intensive techniques- great expenditure of human effort
Craft specialization- source of social information
Segmentary societies: craft production is mainly organized at the household level
Quarries and mines- extract the raw materials for craft production; indicator of
economic intensification and transition to centralized social organization
Grimes Graves- deep and complicated network of underground galleries
Identifying Primary Centers (consider settlement hierarchy)
Size of the site
Written records
Existence of an archive
Seals- indications of ownership, source, or destination
Buildings (control of administration and religious practice)
Fortifications (indicate status)
Existence of mint (where coinage is used)
Functions of the Center
Possible factors: kingship, bureaucratic organization, redistribution and storage of
goods, organization of ritual, craft specialization, and external trade
Administration beyond the Primary Center
Search for artifacts of administration (ex. Clay sealings, imprints of central authority,
actual emblem of power Roman milestone)
Standardization of weights and measure
Road system
Military power
Investigating Social Ranking
Elite residences
Great wealth
Depictions of the elite
Investigating Economic Specialization
Existence of permanent storage
Intensified farming
Taxation, storage and redistribution
Craft specialists: particular technology on separate locations
Relationships between Centralized Societies
Exchange of goods + social relations
Diffusion of culture influence of primary center on outlying secondary areas
Peer polities- interactions between societies of roughly equal scale and power
Warfare- complex mix of ritual, territorial conquest, vendetta, and violent political
discourse; intervillage raiding; depicted in artifacts and palaces; documented in
writings in Greece, Rome, and China
*The Noble Savage: concept of peace-loving noble savage by Jean-Jacques
Rousseau against Thomas Hobbess concept of warlike tribal natives

Competition- frequent undertaking between societies, sometimes within ritual

Emulation- frequently accompany emulation; customs, buildings and artifacts
employed in 1 society come to adopt the form of those used in neighboring ones

Questions: How were artifacts made? What are they used for? Archaological,
scientific analysis, ethnographic, experimental

Samian ware (Roman - ~2000 years old)- glossy brick-red tableware; Roman pottery

Preservation- bias in archaeological record; stone tools and ceramics are predominant

Experimental archaeology- how artifacts are made and manufactured


Extraction: Mines and Quarries

Best-known mines- Neolithic and later flint mines in northern Europe (ex. Belgium,
Grimes Graves in England, and Krzemionki in Poland)
Quarries-statue-quarry on the slopes of the volcano Rano Raraku, Easter Island, and
the obelisk quarry at Aswan, Egypt

How was stone transported? Slides and ramps were built to enable workers to move
red granite blocks 1000 m down the mountain. Only experimentation will indicate the
most feasible method employed.

How were stones worked and fitted? Archaeology and experiment combine to provide
valuable insights into construction techniques.

Stone Tool Manufacture

Removing material from a pebble/core until desired shape of the core has been
First flakes struck off (primary flakes) bear traces of the outer surface (cortex)
Increasing degree of refinement over time
Oldowan tools from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania (choppers)
Acheulian hand-axe shape- symmetrical shape with sharp edges
Levallois technique careful preparation of a tortoise-shaped core so that large flakes
of predetermined size and shape could be removed (show more design and
Upper Paleolithic: blade technology; great advancement; more refined; far less
wasteful of raw material; greater total length of working edges
Trend toward greater economy reached its peak in the Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age)
Chaine operatoire reconstruction of the sequence of manufacturing steps; mostly
waste materials and broken tools are found
2 Principal Approaches to Assess Knappers Decisions:
>Stone Tool Replication
>Refitting of stone tools- follow stages of knappers craft and his (or the cores)
movements around the site

Identifying the function of stone tools:

Microwear Studies
Variety of policies and striations
Prove use of stone tool and what materials its used on

Identifying Function: Further Experiments with Stone Artifacts

Emil Haury- studied minute beads from prehistoric pueblos in Arizona; 50 minutes per
bead or 480 working days for the whole necklace


Bone, Antler, Shell, and Leather

John Coles- investigated the efficiency of a leather shield from the Bronze Age of
Ireland; found to be hardened by hot water and beeswax but it retained a degree of
Wood- one of the most organic materials; used to make tools for as long as stone;
may preserve toolmarks to show how it was worked
Somerset levels project- John and Byrony Coles amalyzed woordworking techniques
used in track construction; The Sweet Track ancient wooden trackway
Firing and Pyrotechnology
Pyrotechnology- control of fire
Evidence of mastery of fire found in Swartkrans Cave, South Africa
Melting pt of copper at 1083oC
Irons 800 oC; requires 1k-1100 oC to be worked; 1540 oCcan be casted; achieved
in 500BC in China
*Maitum Jar- from Mindanao
Paleolithic mobile gatherers- lack of pottery vessels before the Neolithic period
Introduction coincide with adoption of sedentary way of life (vessels and containers
become a necessity)
Used as a chronological indicator
Source of raw materials, food residues, methods of manufacture, and functions are
Made by hand in a series of coils or slabs of clay
Firing technique can be inferred from certain characteristic of finished product
Faience and Glass
Decorative purposes
Faience (French word derived from Faenza, an Italian town; pre-glass); originated in
predynastic Egypt; used for beads and pendants; analysis of composition can tell
provenience or source of particular beads.
2500BC Mesopotamia- 1st beads of real glass; highly prized
Glass- high melting pt of silica (1723 oC) lowered thru optimum mix of 75% silica, 15%
soda, and 10% lime; reusable material
Glass-blowing achieved in 50BC by the Romans
Non-Ferrous Metals
Copper- most impostant non-ferrous material
Bronze-made by alloying copper with tin
Gold, silver, lead, antimony
Shaping native copper
Annealing native copper
Smelting the oxide and carbonate ores of copper
Melting and casting of copper
Alloying with tin (and probably arsenic)
Smelting from sulphide ores
Casting by the lost-wax (cire perdue) process

Melting points
Lead- 327 oC (smeted at 800 oC)
Silver- 960 oC
Gold- 1063 oC

Copper- 1083 oC

Analyzing techniques of manufacture thru composition and metallographic

examination (structure of material is examine microscopically)

Alloying of copper to produce bronze represents a sign of step forward in

metallurgical practice
Trade and Exchange


Exchange- central concept in archaeology; include all interpersonal contacts;

exchange of goods&info

Trade- exchange of material goods/commodities

Exchange and Information Flow- see diagram pg 348

Scale and World System

Internal exchange- occur within specific society
External trade/exchange- good traded over much greater distances, moving from one
social unit to another
World system/world economy- trade networks extending far beyond boundaries of
individual political units and linking them together in a larger functioning unit
Capitalism- present world system; emerged during Great Transformation of
16th century AD

Early Indications of Contact

Indicated in artifacts not found where it originated; DNA analysis

Gift Exchange and Reciprocity

Fabric of social relations bound by a series of gift exchanges
Transcend monetary considerations (not payment)
A gesture/bond, imposing obligations on both parties, esp. recipient
Malinowskis Argonauts of Western Pacific: Kula- series of exchange relationships
among islands of Melanesia was cemented by the exchange of valuable gifts
Framework of reciprocity- donor gains in status the generosity of the scale of the gift;
gifts are given with maximum publicity
Ex. New Guinea- position of Big Man is achieved by munificent giving of gifts to
exchange partners

Karl Polanyis Modes of Exchange (2-way transaction)

Reciprocity- between individuals who are symmetrically placed; done as equals;
gift exchange
Positive reciprocity- among close kin; associated with generosity and altruism
Balanced reciprocity- among those well-known to one another in a definite
social context
Negative reciprocity- you try to do better out of it than your exchange partner;
operates between strangers or those who are socially distant
Redistribution-implies operation of a central organization; goods to center then
Market exchange-implies both specific central location for exchange transaction, and
social relationship where bargaining can occur; system of price-making thru

Valuables and Commodities

Primitive valuables- not all useful; tend to be in a limited range of materials; has
intrinsic value; characterized with rarity, durability, and being visually conspicuous
Ivory, shell, amber, jade, hard and colorful stones, gemstones, gold, copper,
faience, textiles, exotic animals
Tokens of wealth and prestige

Used in ceremonial exchanges of non-states

Spheres of exchange-valuables and commodities are exchanged separately
Characterization (sourcing)- techniques of examination by which characteristic
properties of the constituent material may be identified and so allow source of material
to be determined
material must have a distinct source
doesnt depend only on analytical precision but also on the nature of various sources
of the material
depends crucially on knowledge of the distribution of raw materials in nature
Consider: extent to which the raw material of which the artifact is made may have
changed during burial, and extent to which the raw material was changed during the
production of the artifact (Ex. Metals)
Analytical Methods
Visual examination
Microscopic examination of thin section- petrological examination
Heavy mineral analysis
Trace-element analysis
Optical Emission Spectrometry (OES)
Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA)
Inducively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) Multicollector ICP-MS >more
refined version
Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS)
X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF)
Isotopic Analysis
Strontium isotope- used in characterization of obsidian artifacts and gypsum; help
distinguish between marine and elephant ivory
Carbon and oxygen isotopes-widely used in sourcing marble
Ex. Distribution of amphorae bearing the stamp of the potter, Sestius
Direct access- user goes directly to source of material, without intervention of
exchange mechanism
Down-the-line exchange-repeated exchanged of a reciprocal nature
Free-lance (middleman)trading- activities of traders who operate independently, and
for gain
Emissary trading-trader is a representative of a central organization based in the
home country
Spatial analysis of distribution- plotting the distribution map for finds, quantitative
studies of distribution, size of the dot, number of finds on map, fall-off analysis, pattern
of exponential fall-off (produced only by a down-the-line trading system)
Trade in Silver and Copper
Copper from Cyprus reached the island of Sardinia (tho Sardinia had its own copper
Shipwrecks and Hoards: Trade by Sea and Land
See Fall-Off Nalaysis in pg 369
Distribution: The Uluburun Wreck (1300BC)
Off the south Turkish coast
Ships cargo contained 10 tons of copper in the form of over 350 fourhandled ingots (mined on the island of Cyprus)
++Other stuff from Mediterranean, Syria, etc.

Analysis of how production was organized

Existence of craft specialists, scale of production, and means of transportation and
exchange is determined

1 Technique: reconstituting the debris from the production of tool forms; done by C.A.
Singer in the Colorado Desert of southern California

Excavation of specialist workshops and special facilities- can give insight on scale of
production and its organization; most commonly found- pottery kilns


Consumption- 3rd component of the sequence that begins with production and is
mediated by distribution/exchange

Consider formation processes (how materials are discarded or lost and how they
found their way into the archeological record) and timespans involved

Sampling the site and standardized recovery procedures = careful estimation of



Archaeological evidence is rarely sufficient to permit reconstruction of a complete

exchange system

Ex. Work of Jane Pires-Ferreira in Oaxaca, Mexico

J.R. Clark- studied coinage of the Roman period from the site of Dura-Europos in
eastern Syria; examined a sample of 10, 712 coins; application of usage of coins as
indicator of intensity of interactions in space&time

Symbolic Exchange and Interaction

Peer Polities- interaction between polities of equal status; interaction spheres
Forms of Peer-polity Interactions
Competitive emulation
Transmission of innovation
Symbolic entertainment
Ceremonial exchange of valuables
Flow of commodities
Language and ethnicity
Cognitive Archaeology, Art, and Religion



Language and Self-Consciousness

Design in Tool Manufacture

Procurement of Materials and Planning Time

Organized Behavior: The Living Floor and the Food-Sharing Hypothesis

Lithic Assemblages as Functionally or Culturally Determined

Deliberate Burial of Human Remains





Units of Time

Units of Length

Units of Weight



Money: Symbols of Value and Organization in Complex Societies

Identifying Symbols of Value and Power in Prehistory

Symbols of Power in Hierarchical Societies


Recognition of Cult

Archaeological Indicators of Ritual

Identifying the Supernatural Powers

The Archaeology of Death

The Bioarchaeology of People



Which Sex?

How Long Did They Live?

What Was Their Height and Weight?

What Did They Look Like?

How Were They Related?



Which Hand Did They Use?

Identifying Other Kinds of Behavior


Skeletal Evidence for Deformity and Disease