Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

What’s Left? Anth 130 February 4, 2015. Archaeological Record The body of physical (not written!) evidence about the past.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "What’s Left? Anth 130 February 4, 2015. Archaeological Record The body of physical (not written!) evidence about the past."— Presentation transcript:

1 What’s Left? Anth 130 February 4, 2015

2 Archaeological Record The body of physical (not written!) evidence about the past


4 Artifact Objects used, modified, or made by people

5 Ecofacts Organic and environmental remains not made by humans but that can tell archaeologists information about past peoples

6 Feature A non-portable artifact (walls, buildings, roads etc.)

7 Activity! Break into groups of two Make a list of famous artifact, ecofact and feature in the next five minutes Team with the longest list gets extra 2 participation points! GO!

8 Sites A place where artifacts, ecofacts and features are found together

9 Context To understand past human history at a site archaeologists must understand the context of a find. Context consists of the: matrix, provenience, and its association Once something is removed and its context destroyed part of the understanding of the artifact disappears

10 Primary vs. Secondary Contexts If a tomb is looted in antiquity and then archaeologists excavated the same tomb in the 21 st century would they be recording the primary or secondary context? What else could cause an artifact to be found in a secondary context? Why is it important to know the difference?

11 Matrix The material surrounding an object Usually some sort of sediment (gravel, sand, clay etc.)

12 Provenience Location-horizontal and vertical position within the matrix Archaeologists measure the depth of an artifact and its position within the site

13 Association An artifacts occurrence with other remains Usually within the same matrix

14 All associations must be recording accurately within a site…why?

15 Taphonomy The study of formation processes Cultural formation processes vs. natural formation processes It is important to know if archaeological evidence is from human or natural processes

16 Cultural Formation Processes Original Human Behavior Deliberate Burial Human Destruction of the Archaeological Record

17 Original Human Behavior Reflected in four (sometimes 5) different ways within the AR Acquisition Manufacture Extra-Step-Storage Use (and Distribution) Discard

18 Deliberate Burial Depositing items during times of conflict with the intent of coming back for them-known as a hoard Burial of the dead

19 Human destruction of the AR People in the past deliberately AND accidentally destroyed remains from previous peoples Some of these practices actually help the AR stay intact…example burning

20 Natural Formation Processes Nature can be as destructive (if not more than) humans Animal activity Rivers can change course and disrupt burials and sites Natural disasters can destroy (or preserve) objects in the AR

21 Inorganic Materials Stone, Metal and Clay survive the most in the AR What do you think does’t survive well?

22 Stone Tools Some are over 2 million years old

23 Fired Clay Ceramics have traditionally been the main source of evidence for Archaeologists Acid soil and humidity can damage clay

24 Mud brick Virtually indestructible if well fired Helps to understand building phases

25 Metals Gold, Silver, Lead survive well Copper and bronze oxidize in acidic soil and can leave behind only a green deposit Iron oxidizes quickly and can leave behind just a rust colored stain The sea is very destructive to metals-once an object is removed from the ocean it must be treated to preserve it


27 Organic Materials Survival is determined greatly by the matrix surrounding the material Natural disasters can also influence survival Inorganic material in the matrix can affect the preservation of organic material

28 What do you think the sea would do to an artifact?

29 Natural Disasters Volcano's Mudslides Earthquakes

30 Climate How does climate affect preservation? “Regional Climate” vs. “Local Climate”

31 Tropical Climates Jungles of South America, Asia and Africa Tropical climates are the most destructive Warm, high humidity, acid soils, wealth of vegetation and insect life Fast growing jungle

32 Temperate Climates Most of Europe and North American Temperate climates are also not good for preservation Warm, variable temperature and floating rain fall

33 Dry Environments Prevents decay through shortage of water which doesn’t allow organisms to grow

34 Cold Environments Natural refrigeration “Frozen Finds” Same effect produced at high altitudes Sa

35 Waterlogged Environments Wetland archaeology-sites in lakes, swamps, bogs, fens Material is sealed in a wet and airless environment causing good preservation 75-90% of finds are organic

36 Questions?

Download ppt "What’s Left? Anth 130 February 4, 2015. Archaeological Record The body of physical (not written!) evidence about the past."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google