Archeology Exam 2

Question Answer
Absolute Dating a date expressed in specific units of scientific measurement, such as days/years/centuries/millennia; absolute determinations attempting to pinpoint a discrete, known interval of time
Relative Dating dates expressed relative to one another instead of in absolute term
Time Marker similar to index fossils but artifact forms that research has shown to be diagnostic of a particular time period; created by Nels Nealson
Seriation systematic ordering of artifacts based on the assumption that one cultural style slowly replaces an earlier style over time; with a master seriation diagram, sites can be dated based on their frequencies on several artifacts
Benefits of Seriation Fine-grained method for establishing relative chronology.Basis for establishing relative contemporaneity of sites. For distinguishing settlement systems How would you know which were earlier and which later
Dendrochronology The use of annual growth rings in trees to assign calendar ages to ancient wood samples
Radiocarbon Dating The use of the decay of radioactive isotope 14C to date organic materials that are up to 45,000 years old; created by Willard f. Libby
Trapped Charge Dating Forms of dating that rely on the fact that electrons become trapped in minerals’ crystal lattices as a function of background radiation. The age of the specimen is the total radiation received divided by the annual dose rate.
Thermoluminescence Dating (TL) Used on ceramics, burned stone artifacts, or any mineral that has been heated to more than 500 C; Need to know burning events, subsequent burning events can affect the dates by releasing electrons
Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) This method can date sediments, the age is the elapsed time between the last time a few moments’ exposure to sunlight reset the clock to zero and the present
OSL Methods Must sample in complete darkness; Tube; Dosimeter; Black out sheet
Argon-Argon Dating Volcanic rocks tend to contain traces of potassium which has radioactive isotopes; Irradiate small samples of volcanic ash; Measure the amount of 40Ar present
Typology The systematic arrangement of material culture into types; Development of these allows for identification of patterns across time and space; Aims to minimize differences within groups while maximizing differences between groups
Morphological types A descriptive and abstract grouping of individual artifacts whose focus is on overall similarity rather than function or chronological significance; Every morphological type must encompass a specific range of variability.
Archeological types temporal, morphological and functional
The Frison Effect What happens to points as they are resharpened? Broken? Recycled? Resharpening converts one into the other; over the course of the tools life it can become many different things.
Temporal Types A morphological type that has temporal significance; also known as a time-marker or index fossil; Very helpful in un-datable contexts; Developed by grouping artifacts into morphological types and then test them against independent data
Functional Types A class of artifacts that performed the same function; these may or may not be temporal and/or morphological
How Typology is done Choose Criteria (raw material, shape, etc.) 2. Define attributes (an individual characteristic that distinguishes one artifact from another on the basis of its size, surface texture, form, material, method of manufacture, or design pattern) 3. Sort
Periods A length of time distinguished by particular items of material culture, such as house form, pottery, projectile point form, or subsistence
Phases an archaeological construct possessing traits sufficiently characteristic to distinguish it from other units similarly conceived; spatially limited to roughly a locality or region and chronologically limited to the briefest interval of time possible
Assemblages a collection of artifacts of one or several classes of materials that comes from a defined context, such as a site, feature, or stratum
Component an archaeological construct consisting of a stratum or set of strata that are presumed to be culturally homogenous. A set of components from various sites in a region will make up a phase
Zooarchaeology the study of animals through an archaeological context
Zooarchaeologist Reconstruct Diet, Butchering patterns, trade, seasonality, environmental reconstruction, behavior, process of animal domestication
Faunal Assemblage the animal remains recovered from an archaeological site
Faunal Analysis identification and interpretation of animal remains from an archaeological site
How to do Faunal Analysis Bone Recovery; Bone Identification; Identification of Taxon and how many animals are there?
Element a specific skeletal part of the body
Taxon a taxonomic category, i.e. species/genus/family/order
MNI the minimum number of individuals necessary to account for all the skeletal elements of a particular species
NISP the total number of bone specimens identified to a specific taxon
Comparative Collection almost every university has one. Lucky if you inherit them. Make them yourself which usually happens. Molly and freaken bones!!
Size Class a way of categorizing faunal remains when identification to taxon is impossible
Seasonality study of the animals patterns; can date immature animals by knowing cycles and habits; know when it died and can count by its teeth eruption can calculate how old the immature animal is.
Axial Skeletal Elements rare; The head, mandibles, vertebrae, ribs, sacrum, and tail
Appendicular Skeletal Elements more abundant; All parts not included in the axial elements; everything except the head, mandibles, vertebrae, ribs, sacrum, and tail.
Middle Range Theory James Hutton; Observing the contemporary world provides information necessary to infer past human behavior and natural processes on archaeological objects
Law of Uniformitarianism the principle asserting that the processes now operating to modify the earth’s surface are the same processes that operated throughout geological time
Formal Analogies analogies justified by similarities in the formal attributes of archaeological and ethnographic objects and features
Relational Analogies analogies justified on the basis of close cultural continuity between the archaeological and ethnographic cases or similarity in general cultural form
Taphonomy the study of how organisms become part of the fossil record; in archaeology, it primarily refers to the study of how natural processes produce patterning in archaeological sites
Experimental Archaeology experiments designed to determine the archaeological correlates of ancient behavior; may overlap with both ethnoarchaeology and taphonomy
Ethnoarchaeology the study of comparative peoples to determine how human behavior is translated into the archaeological record
Radiocarbon Calibrations Tree rings; calibration curve to calendar date
Archaeological Cultures A regional manifestation within a culture area marked by a particular set of material culture traits. identification of subcultures differences based on material culture.
Macrobotanical remains nonmicroscopic plant remains recovered from an archaeological site. parts large enough to be recognized by the naked eye. pine nuts, maize cobs/kernels, nuts or nut shells etc.
Paleoethnobotanist An archaeologist who analyzes and interprets plant remains from archaeological sites to understand past interactions between human populations and plants
Coprolite Desiccated feces, often containing macrobotanical remains, pollen and the remains of small animals. fossilized poop.
Palynology the study of fossil pollen grains and spores to reconstruct past climates and human behavior. Different plant species produce different amount of pollen that are distributed in different ways: animals, water and wind.
Phytoliths Means Plant Stone. Tiny Silica particles contained in plants. sometimes these fragments can be recovered from archaeological sites even after the plants themselves have decayed.
Pollen used to recreate past environments Pollen cores taken. Pollen Diagrams help with this. Radiocarbon is taken from the cores and it helps to educated guess what has changed.
Wood Rats Collect materials within ~100m of nest. pretty much cement nests and can date back 10,000 years.

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