ATH 242-01

*** SYLLABUS ***

  • Neighbor if missed class: leach.29@wright.edu
  • many public misconceptions about archaeology

  • not treasure hunters, though early archs were (100+ yr ago)
  • Frank Hibben: helped spy on China for US gov’t
  • average arch. process — 4 hr lab :: 1 hr field
  • mystery? exotic travel? danger? priceless artifacts? not very likely
  • What is arch. all about?

  • is a branch of anthro: study of humanity
  • cultural anthro: non-western cultures
  • biological/physical anthro: study of humans as part of animal kingdom
  • linguistic anthro: study of language development
  • ARCHAEOLOGY: the study of the human past thru material remains, with the aim of ordering and describing the events of the past and explaining their meaning
  • 4 types of arch

  • Classical (EG, GR, IT, etc)
  • Nautical/underwater
  • Historic (the historic record, both those who are included and excluded in the record – women, children, minorities, slaves, etc)
  • historic record based on facts, but always interpreted
  • Prehistoric (varies from location to location depending upon development of historical records)
  • Why study the past?

  • an objective way to understand history and prehistory
  • most of the past is prehistoric
  • how cultures adapt & evolve to current circumstances
  • “People should not have lived, loved and died without any recognition of their existence. It is one of the privileges of being an archaeologist that one can begin to fill in these gaps.” — Ezra Zubrow
  • Sarcophagus of Pakal the Great, ruler of Palenque
  • pseudo-archaeology: Pakal as “ancient astronaut,” Erich von Däniken
  • 2002 the James Ossuary
  • our interpretations of the past are always relevant to politics of the present
  • Gustaf Kossinna: used arch to support Nazi ideology – “Society for German Prehistory”
  • Heinrich Himmler and the Ahnenerbe — meant to “unearth” accomplishments of German history
  • revisionism — an attempt to rewrite actual history in order to support cultural or pet theories
  • removal of mound builders completed by mid-1800’s
  • justified by claim that native Americans eliminated “real” mound builders
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