ATH 242-01

Origins of Arch:

  • young discipline comp . to other sci.
  • Prescientific period
  • all endeavors before AD1600

treasure hunting
period of looting
no care to know what it is
Pharaoh Thutmose IV
15cent BC
left record of excavation of Sphinx
6th Cent BC
excavated ancient city
antiquarian period
collecting material culture
classifying material culture
stereotypical view most people think prior to 1800 there was single dominant thought

earth only 6000 yo (calculated by Bishop James Ussher in 1650)
no concept of prehistory
davinci didn’t believe the age of the earth



BEGIN NOTES @ Uniformitarianism

  • originally proposed by John Hutton in the late 1700’s
  • the natural processes that we observe today are the same as those that operated in the past
  • by the mid 1800’s Uniformitarianism was a challenge to catastrophism
  • Charles Lyell – 1830: ended the debate between Uniformitarianism and Catastrophism with publication of Principles of Geology
  • Lyell’s geological principles were then incorporated into biology
  • Charles Darwin: On the Origin of Species (1859)
  • incorporated uniformitarianism into biology
  • presently observable processes (natural selection) can be used to explain biological diversity
  • Descent of Man (1871)
  • In the US, the first archaeological excavation was conducted in AD 1784 by Thomas Jefferson
  • excavated burial mound at Monticello, employed stratigraphic excavation
  • the BIG question of American archaeology in the 19th century: who built the mounds?
  • Jefferson believed Native Americans were mound builders, most did not
  • Caleb Atwater (postmaster of Circleville OH): N.A. were obviously not moundbuilders
  • Ephraim Squier and Edwin Davis traveled and mapped mounds (1848 – Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley – first thing ever published by Smithsonian)
  • maps still in use today
  • Cyrus Thomas – 1880’s, extensively studied the moundbuilder question
  • did not initially believe NA built mounds
  • in 1894 he concluded that NA had in fact constructed the mounds
  • Christian Thomsen
  • 1819 – developed system of classification
  • developed concepts of Stone, Bronze and Iron Age (system still in use today)
  • Hypothesis later tested by successor, Jens Worsaae
  • Unilinear Cultural Evolution: Lewis Henry Morgan

  • data from ethnographic studies to compare cultures
  • Franz Boas: father of American Anthropology
  • Historical Particularism: each culture has a unique history and we should not assume universal laws in cultural development
  • Cultural Relativism: differences in cultures are the result of historical, social and geographic conditions
  • Emphasized documenting and describing cultures, but not explaining cultural change
  • all populations have complete and equally developed culture — need to document and describe
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