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Archaeology Day: Archaeology 101

 

Know the Lingo

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/1d/ee/c7/1deec7b9bb8c795bb53ed944d16b09e0--flint-knapping-drills.jpg

Artifact

A portable object manufactured, modified, or used by humans.

http://www.jwcohenphoto.com/media/1089/20060621_archaeology13_jwc.jpg

Benchmark

For excavation purposes, a permanent point at a known elevation that can be used to measure other elevations during excavation . Also known as a Datum Point.

http://www.jefpat.org/archaeology.html

Context

The position and associations of an artifact, feature, or archaeological find in space and time. Noting where the artifact was found and what was around it assists archaeologists in determining chronology and interpreting function and significance. Loss of context strips an artifact of meaning and makes it more difficult (sometimes, impossible) to determine function.

https://joannedi.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/greatmigrationmap1620-1640.jpg

Diffusion

The transmission of ideas or materials from culture to culture, or from one area to another.

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Helena_Kirchner/publication/262049585/figure/download/fig2/AS:296743095816207@1447760475785/Fig-4-Archaeobotanical-remains-ch-charred-min-mineralized-1-Hordeum-vulgare.png

Ecofacts

Archaeological finds that are of cultural significance, but were not manufactured by humans. These include bones and vegetal remains that can tell us about past diet or environments. Also known as a Biofact.

http://www.agathe.gr/Icons/research/001.jpg

Field Notes

Detailed, written accounts of archaeological research, excavation, and interpretation made while in the field at an ongoing project.

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Ground-Penetrating Radar

An instrument used to find sub-surface anomalies (features) by recording differential reflection of radar pulses.

http://images.tutorvista.com/cms/images/44/decay-of-carbon-14.png

Half-Life

The time needed for half of a radioactive isotope to decay and form a stable element. This known rate of decay is used in radiometric dating, such as radiocarbon dating, to determine the age of objects.

http://www.thehistoryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Boudiccan-Mandible-in-situ.jpg

in situ

Anything in its natural or original position or place is said to be in situ.

https://vafowashhq.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/undug-stratigraphy1.jpg

Law of Superposition

A physical "law" asserting that deeper layers of sediment or archaeological strata will naturally be older than the layers above them (in the absence of unusual, disruptive, activity, such as earthquakes).

http://newsdesk.si.edu/sites/default/files/photos/3_1.jpg

Midden

A deposit of occupation debris, rubbish, or other by-products of human activity, such as shell, bone, or debitage, found close to a living area; a trash heap or pit.

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Provenience

The three-dimensional context (including geographical location) of an archaeological find, giving information about its function and date.

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

Relative Dating

A system of dating archaeological remains and strata in relation to each other. By using methods of typing or by assigning a sequence based on the Law of Superposition, archaeologists organize layers or objects in order from "oldest" to "most recent." Relative dating methods help archaeologists establish chronologies of finds and types.

Stratigraphy

The study of the layers (strata) of sediments, soils, and material culture at an archaeological site (also used in geology for the study of geological layers).

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Test Pit

An excavation unit used in the initial investigation of a site or area, before large-scale excavation begins, that allows the archaeologist to "preview" what lies under the ground.

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Use-Wear Analysis

Microscopic analysis of artifacts or bones to find wear patterns or damage marks that indicate how the artifact was used. For example, marks running perpendicularly to the edge of a stone knife could indicate that the tool was used for scraping rather than cutting. Also called wear analysis.

What is Archaeology?

Archaeology is the study of past cultures through the material (physical) remains people left behind. These can range from small artifacts, such as arrowheads, to large buildings, such as pyramids. Anything that people created or modified is part of the archaeological record. Read more...

 

What Do Archaeologists Do?

Archaeologists do three main kinds of work: excavation, research, and teaching. Excavation is done almost exclusively outside and, for the most part, only during good weather (i.e. the summer months). An excavation season (generally called a “dig”) usually lasts from one week to three months, during which time work proceeds six days/week. Archaeologists conduct excavations all over the world, from the Arctic regions to tropical jungles to modern cities, and the timing of their seasons depends on local weather conditions as well as other factors, such as national holidays. Read more...

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