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Question1. Discuss in detail any two archaeological theories

Archaeological theory refers to the several scholarly frameworks by which archaeologists can
interpret any given archeological data. Archeological theory plays a prominent role in
philosophy science, where it’s the most functional tool of archeology. It can also be called a
theory of archaeology. It has no single approach instead there are many of them with whom it’s
believed that information should be interpreted in various ways. Some archeological theories
state that archeologists are only in a position to nurture accurate and objective data about the past
societies by making use of the excellent scientific method to carry out their investigations.

Post- processual archaeology

Processual Archaeology favours the lowest-effort solutions, assuming people are doing what's
most efficient for them (and thus that different groups of people may come to the same solution
separately). This theory came up in the year 1980s that was an upcoming movement and was led
by a British archeologist by the name Michael shanks.

The theory questioned the processualism, which called for science and its independence by
claiming that his or her understanding inclines every single archeologist. As a result, scientific
archaeologist work ought to be tough, and sometimes it’s impractical.

This mostly happens in archeology, mostly in the cases where others cannot redo experiments as
the scientific methods states. The advantage of this theory has been recognized in several fields
as a guest interpretation, cultural resource management and ethics pertaining archeology and

Post-Processual Archaeology does not see objectivity as easy to attain or even possible, noting
that you may be left with no truths but simple clouds of data.

Moreover, despite seeming unscientific, still tries to come up with ideas that make sense, uses a
sort of "trial by jury" to allow interpretations to be continually refined through a process of
always confronting earlier knowledge and never assuming a final solution has been reached
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Processual archaeology (New Archaeology)

This archeological theory emerged as a result of several young American archeologists’ rebelling
against the paradigms of cultural history. They came up with a newly improvised archeology
which was supposed to be more anthropological and very scientific. They came to recognize
culture as a set of behavioral course of action and way of life. They have finally found a common
belief, where every archaeologist should gather one or many hypotheses about a culture under
investigation, there after carrying out excavations with an objective of trying these suggestions
besides the new indications.

In brief, processual archaeology used the scientific method to identify the environmental factors
that influenced past human behaviors. Archaeologists who had practiced processual archaeology,
or had been taught it during their formative years, criticized processual archaeology for its failure
to explain variability in past human behavior. The post-processualists rejected the deterministic
arguments and logical positivist methods as being too limited to encompass the wide variety of
human motivations.

Question2. Discuss the contribution of the following in archaeology as a discipline

1. Catastrophism

Catastrophism means its past has influenced the earth by abrupt means, might be the natural
calamity, effects of violence which probably happen universally. It happens to contrast the
gradualism which is commonly known as the theory of uniformitarian. It is apprehended that
geological period had widened up with violence and immediate natural misfortunes such as the
high flooding and the speedy development of mountain like chains. To a greater attempt, some
calamity focuses relate these out comings to the biblical era of Noah.

This scope was first made famous during the early 19th century by a great French scientist by the
name Georges Cuvier. He suggested that the new life formations had shifted from other places
after flooding, avoiding any metaphysical. Over the past twenty-five years, a scientifically
oriented calamity has obtained a massive embrace about specific happenings during the far-away
past. This impact wiped away over seventy percent of all today`s indigenous species which
include the famous dinosaurs. This has mightily contributed to today`s archeological discoveries.
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Antiquarisim means the exploration of what happened in the ancient past. Antiquarisim is the
essential predecessor of the current historical sciences; it has facilitated in the gathering of raw
materials from which stories of the past were extracted. It has the capability of explaining the
events of the past with materials resulting from past shortcomings. Over the years antiquarianism
has used a gathered collection of textual remains in investigating and also interpreting its raw
facts. It captures the history by collecting the materials that were solidifying the lost culture.
Antiquarianism allows the current culture to merge with the past activities.

Discuss any two absolute and relative dating methods in archaeology

Getting dates for fossils that are found in sites being excavated by anthropologist is very
important. Dates show the evolution from early hominid specimens to our own species, Homo
homo sapiens. There are many methods that can be used to acquire these dates, but all of these
methods fall into one of two categories. They can either give a absolute date or a relative

Relative Dating method as an Archaeology Dating Technique

There are many methods that can be used to acquire these dates, but all of these methods fall into
one of two categories absolute and relative. An absolute date is one in which you get an actual
date in years. Also known as chronometric methods. Relative dates do not give an actual date in
terms of years, but they tell you if one fossil is older or younger than another fossil. Relative
dates are given in terms of the column of earth they are found in.

Two type of relative dating includes stratigraphy and radiocarbon dating


Stratigraphy is the study of layers of rocks or the objects embedded within those layers. It is
based on the assumption (which, except at unconformities , nearly always holds true) that
deeper layers were deposited earlier, and thus are older than more shallow layers. The sequential
layers of rock represent sequential intervals of time. Although these units may be sequential,
they are not necessarily continuous due to erosional removal of some intervening units.
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The smallest of these rock units that can be matched to a specific time interval is called a bed.
Beds that are related are grouped together into members, and members are grouped into

Relative dating in archaeology presumes the age of an artefact in relation and by comparison, to
other objects found in its vicinity. Limits to relative dating are that it cannot provide an accurate
year or a specific date of use.

The style of the artefact and its archaeology location stratigraphically are required to arrive at a
relative date. For example, if an artefact, say an oil lamp, is found co-located on the same floor
of a governor's dwelling, and that floor can be dated in archaeology terms by reason of the
patterns employed in the mosaic, then it is assumed that in relation to the floor that the lamp is of
the same age.

Radiocarbon Dating

Archaeologists utilize one of the revolutionary methods called the radio carbon dating to
determine the approximate age of the organic materials including plant and animal parts up to
50000 years (Long).

Radiocarbon dating technique is primarily based on the radioactive decay of Carbon-14 isotope.
Developed by a team of researchers under the leadership of Dr. Willard Libby, this technique
had revolutionized the way the archaeological advancements are made in learning about the past
civilization and cultures, changes occurred in the earth and in its climate.

Radiocarbon dating enable archaeologists to provide proof of authenticity to the excavated

artifacts’ period of usage and thus by collaborating with the efforts with historians and
anthropologists, the unwritten history can be precisely explained.

Absolute Dating As an Archaeology Dating Technique

Absolute dating is the term used to describe any dating technique that tells how old a specimen is
in years. These are generally analytical methods, and are carried out in a laboratory. Absolute
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dates are also relative dates, in that they tell which specimens are older or younger than others.
Absolute dates must agree with dates from other relative methods in order to be valid.

Two type of absolute dating technique includes Cation-ratio dating and Dendrochronology

Cation-ratio dating

Cation-ratio dating is used to date rock surfaces such as stone artifacts and cliff and ground
drawings. It can be used to obtain dates that would be unobtainable by more conventional
methods such as radiocarbon dating. Scientists use cation-ratio dating to determine how long
rock surfaces have been exposed. They do this by chemically analyzing the varnish that forms on
these surfaces.

The varnish contains cations, which are positively charged atoms or molecules. Different cations
move throughout the environment at different rates, so the ratio of different cations to each other
changes over time. Cation ratio dating relies on the principle that the cation ratio (K++Ca2+)/Ti4+
decreases with increasing age of a sample.

By calibrating these ratios with dates obtained from rocks from a similar microenvironment, a
minimum age for the varnish can be determined. This technique can only be applied to rocks
from desert areas, where the varnish is most stable.


The absolute dating method utilizing tree ring growth is known as dendrochronology. It is based
on the fact that trees produce one growth ring each year.

Narrow rings grow in cold and/or dry years, and wide rings grow in warm years with plenty of
moisture. The rings form a distinctive pattern, which is the same for all members in a given
species and geographical area.

The patterns from trees of different ages (including ancient wood) are overlapped, forming a
master pattern that can be used to date timbers thousands of years old with a resolution of one
year. Timbers can be used to date buildings and archaeological sites.
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In addition, tree rings are used to date changes in the climate such as sudden cool or dry periods.
Finally Dendrochronology has a range of one to 10,000 years or more.


Aitken, M. J. (2014). Science-based dating in archaeology. Routledge.

Baillie, M. G. (2014). Tree-ring dating and archaeology (Vol. 3). Routledge.
Cook, E. R.(2013). Methods of dendrochronology: applications in the environmental sciences.
Springer Science & Business Media.
Schiffer, M. B. (Ed.). (2014). Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory: Selections for
Students from (Vol. 1). Elsevier.