Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

The Nature of American Archaeology

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "The Nature of American Archaeology"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Nature of American Archaeology
Culture History

2 History of American Archaeology
Important elements in the pattern of development of archaeology on this continent included: the location of the founding European settlements in the east; regional environmental characteristics; the visibility, "allure," and accessibility of the archaeological record in each culture area; the quicker pace of development toward the east until the 20th century.

3 There were six main periods in the history of North American archaeology:
Period I: Incidental Discovery and Speculation: Period II: Systematic Survey and Testing: Period III: Syntheses, Taxonomies, and Chronologies: Period IV: The Classificatory-Historical Period: Context and Function Period V: Processual: Period VI: Post-Processual:

4 Period I: Incidental Discovery and Speculation: 1492-1840
American archaeology developed as a result of dealing with Native American cultures and the ruins, mounds, and artifacts in the New World. Ethnological, historical, and anthropological theory developed that dealt with the human activities and experiences of the native people. Throughout the history of American archaeology beliefs about Native American cultures have changed.

5 Arm-Chair Archaeology
During this first period, professional archaeologists were rare. So-called armchair explorers began to deal native people in South America, Mesoamerica, and North America. The first question they tried to answer was, 'Who are the Indians?' The armchair scholars tried to find out where Native Americans originated.

6 Moundbuilder Debate After finding many burial mounds and ruins in Ohio, the mound builder debate became their main concern: Who built the mounds? Some said the Native Americans were savages, and they were not capable of building mounds.

7 Theories Benjamin Smith Barton argued that Danes built them, moved into Mexico and later became the Toltecs. Governor De WittClinton said Scandinavian Vikings built mounds in western New York State. Caleb Atwater suggested that built the mounds before they migrated into the New World, eventually ending up in Mexico. He also thought that Native Americans migrated into the New World after the original mound builders moved out from this region. James H. McClloh viewed the Native Americans as descendents of the mound builders. They were the same race and the Native Americans were capable of building the mounds. However, this idea was unpopular during this period because of the cultural evolutionary theory among the European scholars. This cultural evolutionary theory, along with a lack of professional archaeologists and difficulty in excavating the mounds made it difficult for archaeologists to do little more than speculate.

8 Thomas Jefferson President from: 3/4/1801 - 3/3/1809
Notes on the State of Virginia, the only book Jefferson authored, gives a good account of his interest in Native Americans. Monticello’s Entrance Hall was known as the Indian Hall because of the many artifacts on display. Jefferson excavated an Indian burial mound near Charlottesville and also conducted an in-depth study of Indian languages. Was key in determining that modern Native Americans were the descendents of the Moundbuilders.

9 Period II: Systematic Survey and Testing: 1840-1914
In this period, several institutions, such universities, museums, and the government, began to support archaeological activities. Archaeologists became more professional. Most of scholars began to accept the idea that the ancestors of the Native Americans built the mounds, and different tribal groups had built different mounds. Many professional archaeologists began to excavate at several regions; the southwest region; the eastern regions, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Maine, Cahokia in Illinois, Ohio-Fort Ancient, Hopewell, the northeast, Quebec, Montreal with Iroquois villages, and Alaska.

10 Archaeological methods
Archaeological methods, such as scientific surveying, mapping, digging, cross-section drawing, careful plotting, and recording of findings were also developed. Artifacts such as stone were classified, and archaeologists began to notice cultural variety. However, although they noticed the environmental differences associated with cultural development, they still believed in uniform cultural stages.

11 Sponsored Research The roots of empirical archaeology began in natural history surveys sponsored by national institutions, especially the Smithsonian, the American Museum of Natural History, and Harvard University's Peabody Museum. Ephraim Squire and Edwin Davis (1848, published Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley), Clarence Moore, John Wesley Powell, Frederick Ward Putnam, and Cyrus Thomas studied sites in the Eastern United States. Adolph Bandelier and John Wesley Powell in the Southwest. Ephraim Squire

12 C. B. Moore C. B. Moore C.B. Moore and his steamship the Gopher.

13 First American Archaeologists
C.B. Moore Cyrus Thomas

14 Also in Period II Professionalization of the discipline began; there was a need felt to record rapidly vanishing information; and so there was the organization of local naturalist, historical, and scientific societies. Some advances occurred regarding: integration of archaeology, Ethnology & linguistics, physical anthropology concern for careful description; advancements in field methods and reporting techniques; increased recognition of the great antiquity of the American Indian; growing concern for the preservation of sites and artifacts.

15 Period III: Syntheses, Taxonomies, and Chronologies: 1914-1940
From this period, chronology became the main concern in archaeology. The theory of Franz Boas, cultural diffusion, influenced archaeological studies. Previous typology and developed into stratigraphic and seriational procedures that dealt with pottery type, artifact sequences and distribution. N.C. Nelson excavated in the southwest region and studied the Rio Grande Pueblos. He classified pottery depending upon the coloration, and noted the occurrences and absences of pottery type. However, he didn't note frequency and percentage.

16 Seriation Seriation was key in dealing with cultural change through time. Instead of using evolutionary seriation with simple to complex cultural development, similarity seriation was used in this period and other tools were classified by the similarity. James A. Ford studied Hopewellian, Woodland, and Mississippian pottery. He found cultural variation in the way the pottery made, such as the use of paste, temper, decoration, and features through time. H.S. Gladwin studied in southern Arizona noted that the pottery style was a key indicator of cultural change and the potshards were clues to spatial-temporal cultural variation. Ford and G.R. Willey worked on the mounds of preceramic and nonfarming cultures in the upper middle-eastern region.

17 Dendrochronology In this period dating techniques were also beginning to be used. Alfred Kidder classified Pueblo groups in terms of the cultural diffusion among them and A.E. Douglass, the astronomer calculated age of the cultural periods through dendrochronology. Chronological study in this period showed historical relationships among cultures that possessed similar pottery styles or designs.

18 IV. The Classificatory-Historical Period: Context and Function 1940-1960
In this period, archaeologists began to deal with Native cultures in terms of three concepts: artifacts as behavior, pattern, the environment, and the context and function of each of these concepts in the culture. Other disciplines, such as geology, botany and biology, chemistry, and mathematics began to be more involved in the archaeological field during this period.

19 The Classificatory-Historical Period:
Artifacts were to be understood as the material relics of social and cultural behavior. However, some scholars disagreed with this concept. Paul Martin stated that a culture couldn't be considered as physical objects, nor generalized by the similar styles or types of the objects. Irving Rouse also argued that a culture couldn't be inherent in the artifacts. Culture is a relationship between the object and the people who made used it. Walter W. Taylor noted that historiography was necessary in archaeological research, and used artifacts to reconstruct the cultural context.

20 C-14 Dating Radiocarbon Dating, Libby (1949)
Carbon 14- one peaceful by-product of accelerated wartime research into atomic physics and radioactivity in the 1940s. The rate of decay of 14C, which has a half-life of 5730 (±40) years, is long enough to allow samples of carbon as old as 45,000 years. Samples containing 300 milligrams to 4 grams final carbon AMS- Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, measures on the atomic level so can go to 70,000 years.

21 Period IV: Importance of Environment
In this period, archaeologists began to realize the environmental aspects that affected cultural development. Research of R.Wedel’s Great Plains, Emil W. Haury’s Ventana Cave, Arizona, and E.W.Gifford’s California shellmounds showed the relationships between the native cultures and the environment. Julian H.Steward developed environmental-evolutionary theory, known as cultural ecology or multilinear evolution. The natural world determines the cultural development and technological adaptations.

22 Period V: Processual Archaeology: 1960 – 1990s
There were two major trajectories: Processual archaeology and Cultural Resource Management (CRM) Processual archaeology (the New Archaeology) was developed by Lewis Binford and others in the 1960s; with the motto "archaeology as anthropology"; The new focus was on the transformation of archaeological data into cultural data, the organization of past cultural systems and their transformations through time, and the external stimuli that triggered these changes. They had a behavioral or “processual” approach.

23 Cultural Resource Management
Cultural Resource Management (CRM) dominates North American archaeology at present, the result of national laws, such as the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966; Its goal is to manage and conserve America's archaeological heritage.

24 Lower Verde Archaeological Project
Lower Verde Archaeological Project (LVAP) was conducted as part of the Safety of Dams Program associated with the Central Arizona Project Archaeological investigations at 26 presumed small habitation, agricultural, and resource-procurement sites in the Horseshoe Reservoir and Bartlett Lake areas in the lower Verde River valley. Previous research inventoried cultural resources in areas to be inundated when proposed dams along the Verde River were built. A project conducted by Statistical Research, Inc. (SRI) would be the first large-scale excavation effort in the region. It allowed the researchers to study “relationships among the cultures of the lower Verde valley, other regions of central Arizona, and the Phoenix Basin; distinguishing Yavapai and Apache peoples in the archaeological record; and investigating agricultural methods, productivity, and carrying capacity”.

25 Lower Verde Arch Project: Excavations at Scorpion Village

26 The Tennessee Valley Authority
The TVA has been improving the quality of life in the Tennessee Valley through its threefold mission of providing affordable and reliable power, promoting sustainable economic development, and acting as a steward of the Valley's natural resources.

27 Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)
Normandy Lake Third Report of the Normandy Archaeological Project, edited by M.C.R. McCollough and C. H. Faulkner (1976). Sixth Report of the Normandy Archaeological Project, edited by M.C.R. McCollough and C. H. Faulkner (1978). Seventh Report of the Normandy Archaeological Project, edited by C. H. Faulkner and M.C.R. McCollough (1982). Eighth Report of the Normandy Archaeological Project, by C. H. Faulkner and M.C.R. McCollough (1982). A Survey of Traditional Architecture and Related Material Folk Culture Patterns in the Normandy Reservoir, by N. F. Riedl, D. B. Ball, and A. P. Cavender (1976). Bear Creek Watershed Archaeological Investigations in the Little Bear Creek Reservoir, by C. B. Oakley and E. M. Futato (1975). Archaeological Investigations in the Cedar Creek and Upper Bear Creek Reservoirs, by E. M. Futato. An Above-Pool Survey of Cultural Resources Within the Little Bear Creek Reservoir Area, Franklin County, Ala., by Charles H. McNutt and Guy G. Weaver (1985). Historical Archaeological Investigations in Cedar Creek Reservoir, Franklin County, Ala., by Beverly E. Bastian. Bellefonte Nuclear Plant The Bellefonte Site lJA300, by E. M. Futato (1977). Watts Bar Excavations at 40RH6, Watts Bar Area, by F. A. Calabrese (1976). Excavations of the Leuty and McDonald Site Mounds in the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant Area, by G. F. Schroedl (1978). Archaeological Research at 40RE107, 40 RE108, and 40RE124, by G. F. Schroedl (1990).

28 Ethnographic, Environmental & Experimental analogy
Ethnographic analogy is becoming more important to archaeological research, such as trying to understand larger patterns of human behavior and activities from archaeological findings.

29 Ethnoarchaeology Agta Foragers

30 Environmental Archaeology
Environmental archaeology is the study of past human interactions with the natural world-a world that encompasses plants, animals, and landscape. Environmental archaeology researchers attempt to reconstruct not only the ancient environments associated with archaeological sites, but also the use of those environments by people, the impact people had on the world around them, and the way ancient peoples perceived their surroundings and the plants and animals on which they relied. Environmental archaeology is traditionally divided into three subfields, including zooarchaeology (the study of animal remains), archaeobotany (the study of plant remains) and geoarchaeology (the study of the abiotic landscape).

31 Zooarchaeology Clam-Incremental Growth Structures Fish Skeleton
Pineland archeaological site, Charlotte Harbor, FL

32 Paleoethnobotany

33 Geoarchaeology Rodent Burrow Microscopic sand grains Soil Profile, Fl

34 Experimental Archaeology
Experimental archaeology can be divided into several categories Replication of recovered artifacts or known activities Testing methodologies/hypotheses. Contextual studies/change in sites over time. Ethnoarchaeology/studying modern culture to investigate arch phenomena.

35 Replication of Artifacts
Stone Tools Bone Tools Pottery, metals, etc.

36 Stone Tools A ground stone axe was replicated and then used for chopping down trees Francois Bordes

37 Butchering Studies Using reconstructed stone tools.
Observing durability of tools, cut marks, time, choices.

38 Period VI: Post-processualism
From the middle of the modern period, archaeologists began to be concerned more about human behavior and the study of Native American cultures. Archaeology is not merely a science of material culture, but concerns of human beings and their cultural behavior in the past. This trend is called Postprocessualism. Hodder: Culture is interactive Culture change must include women, ethnic minorities, illiterate Archaeologists bring cultural biases to work, act as mediators of the past. Can one study “the archaeology of the mind” with material remains?

39 Processual vs. Post-Processual
A dilemma between Processualism and Postprocessualism still remains in today’s American archaeology. However, a combination of the scientific approach, ethnological research, and the concept of cultural anthropology helps today’s American archaeologists to find the route of migration from Asia, and the subsistence, technology, and behavior of Paleo-Indian.

40 Other trends: Massive growth in the numbers of professional archaeologists; Increased use of statistics and computers; Introduction of large-scale probability-based surveys; Refinement of excavation procedures (e.g., use of flotation, bulldozers) De-emphasis on mound excavations; and Growing interest in the archaeology of the historical period, both Indian and Euro-American. Class Status, Mortuary, Environment

Download ppt "The Nature of American Archaeology"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google