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Maurizio Tosi - What is Archaeology


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Maurizio Tosi - Lezione presso Università Bicocca

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Maurizio Tosi - What is Archaeology

  1. 1. What Is Archaeology? • Archaeology is one of four sub- disciplines of Anthropology. • Anthropology is the study of people and their culture. • Anthropology Disciplines: – Archaeology – Cultural Anthropology – Linguistic Anthropology – Biological or Physical Anthropology • Archaeology is the systematic, scientific recovery and analysis of artifacts in order to answer questions about past human culture and behavior. Archaeology Culture Speech & Language Biology of Man
  2. 2. What archeologists don’t do: • Study dinosaurs. • Just look for pretty or valuable objects. • Just pick up artifacts. • Just study prehistoric people. • Spend all their time just digging. • Buy or sell artifacts.
  3. 3. The systematic, scientific recovery and analysis of artifacts in order to answer questions about past human culture and behavior. So what is archaeology?
  4. 4. Recovery / Analysis: To collect and study artifacts.
  5. 5. Artifact: Any item resulting from human activity.
  6. 6. When did they live? Where did they live? What did they eat? How large was the group? Did they have disease or sickness? Did they have art? Did they hunt or farm? What tools did they use? Did they have writing? Who took care of the children? Did they have laws? Did they have religion? Question-based: Archaeologists study artifacts in order to answer questions about how humans lived.
  7. 7. Archaeology Terms • Systematic: A consistent way of studying anything. • Science: Methods and knowledge of studying anything. • Recovery/ Analysis: To collect and study artifacts. • Artifact: Any item resulting from human activity.
  8. 8. Archaeology Terms • Question-based: Archaeologists study artifacts in order to answer questions about how humans lived. • Past: Archaeologists study human cultures that are no longer living. • Culture: Any learned behavior that is shared with others.
  9. 9. History of Archaeology • The first archaeologists – Antiquarians or wealthy collectors of artifacts • Early Archaeology – It was a combination of several other sciences concerned with the evolution of man. • 1817 – Danish archaeologist Christian Jurgensen Thomsen opened the National Museum of Antiquities in Copenhagen to the public. • 1859 Origin of Species. – Darwin publishes his book. • 1920’s – Archaeology became a fully fledged scientific discipline. Christian Jurgensen Thomsen Charles Darwin
  10. 10. Early American Archaeology • Earliest American settlers – They debate the origin of American Indians. • 1880’s – Archaeologists and anthropologists study Pueblo Indians as direct descendants of the first people in America. • 1890’s – Cyrus Thomas of the Bureau of American Ethnology proves the “Moundbuilders” were indeed Native Americans. Indian burial mound in Georgia.
  11. 11. Modern Scientific Archaeology 1960’s • The invention of modern scientific excavation techniques • Using a multidisciplinary approach to study people. • Increasing impact of science on archaeology • Refinement of archaeological theory. Dendrochronology Botany DNA
  12. 12. Academic Goals of Archeology • Culture History – Sequence of events – How artifacts change over time – Explain why events happened. • Lifeways Reconstruction – Technology, subsistence, exchange, settlement, social organization, ideology, etc. • Culture Process – Theoretical models on lifeways.
  13. 13. Applied Goals of Archaeology • Conveying the past as it’s known through archaeology. • The proper way to do archaeology. • Archaeology is a profession. • Public Education – Museum exhibits – Television shows – Documentary films – Public lectures, digs, or workshops.
  14. 14. Types of Archaeology • Prehistoric Archaeology – Before writing. • Historical Archaeology – Document/writing assisted • Classical Archaeology – Greek and Roman • Biblical Archaeology • Underwater Archaeology – Shipwrecks or anything else under water. • Industrial Archaeology – Industrial Revolution and other modern structures • Egyptologists, Mayanists, Assyriologists – Study of specific civilizations or time periods. • Cultural Resource Management – Management and assesment of significant cultural resources.
  15. 15. Culture: Any learned behavior that is shared with others.
  16. 16. Culture: • Culture is a theoretical concept to describe humankind’s external adaptation – to natural environment. – A set of designs for living in different situations • In Archaeology a culture is an assemblage of artefacts found at several sites and defined in a precise context of time and space
  17. 17. Culture: Both • Materialistic: culture is a set of observed behaviours and material objects that help a people adjust to a physical or social environment • Ideation: Culture is a set of standards or rules for behaviours and for the making of material objects
  18. 18. Culture: • Learned • Includes the full range of behaviours in the group • The patterns of behaviour which are typical of the group • Shows the ability to change over time • Demonstrates a set of symbols • Represents a social grouping • Has rules about variations in behaviour • Ability to transmit culture through generations
  19. 19. Culture: • Social Structure – Patterned ways in which individuals and groups relate within a society – Social institutions e.g. economic institutions – Social status • Positions • Gender • Age • Ability • Means of gaining status – Social roles
  20. 20. Cultural Change • Discovery and Invention • Types of cultural diffusion – Direct contact – Intermediate contact – Stimulus diffusion – Selective nature of diffusion – Acculturation – Voluntary or involuntary
  21. 21. Cultural Change Economic associations • Economic institutions • Promote production • Gifts, trade, sales, inheritance • Normative patterns of use, storage, and consumption • Rules of ownership and possession
  22. 22. Cultural Change Normative patterns of use, storage, and consumption • Types of consumption – Primary – Secondary • Modes of Exchange • Reciprocity • Redistribution • Market Exchange
  23. 23. Cultural Change Normative patterns of use, storage, and consumption • Types of consumption – Primary – Secondary • Modes of Exchange • Reciprocity • Redistribution • Market Exchange
  24. 24. Types of organization • Band • Tribe • Chiefdom • State
  25. 25. Types of organization Band: – a local group – little or no specialization in political structure – Hunting-gathering subsistence – Small, egalitarian communities
  26. 26. Types of organization Tribe: • Sometimes multi-local political orgs. • Little or no specialization of political officials • Extensive and shifting hunting/gathering, agriculture, or herding (domesticated/wild) • Small, low density communities • Egalitarian • Reciprocity
  27. 27. Types of organization Chiefdom: • Multi-local political org. • Some specialized political officials • Extensive agriculture and/or herding • Large communities w/ medium density • Ranked societies • Both reciprocity and redistribution
  28. 28. Types of organization States: • Multi-local political org. by language group • many specialized political officials • Intensive agriculture and/or herding • Large communities in towns or cities w/ high density • Class societies (castes) • Market exchanges
  29. 29. Reconstructing Settlement Patterns • Settlement archaeology – Distribution of archaeological sites – Distribution of dwellings etc – Carrying capacity – Site catchment analysis (area served) • Tools include – GIS
  30. 30. Reconstructing Social Systems • Funerary Archaeology – Study of burials • social status • ritual • Trading patterns – Most populations are engaged in some form of trade – It is an important part of cultural diffusion
  31. 31. From archaeological data to imagination
  32. 32. STEP 1 STEP 4 STEP 3 STEP 2 Archaeological Data Acquisition and Evaluation Elaboration and Analysis Simulating Processes Reconstruction Scientific explanatory process
  33. 33. Archaeological Data Acquisition • DTM Geomorphological Evaluation • Geological Maps (Lithology, Pedology…) • Aerial Photographs • Satellite Images • Radar Images • Geophysical Survey • Field Survey • Cores and drillings • Site excavations, test trenches • Environmental data collection (archaeobotanical, archeozoological) NO ONE OF THESE DATA CAN BE USED AS A WHOLE FOR THE REPRESENTATION OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE
  34. 34. • The history of archaeological method is of a discipline which has used sophisticated technologies in the search for and understanding of archaeological sites.
  35. 35. Approach and Problems of Landscapes Studies between ’80 and ’90 Trend of archaeological landscape studies • Field-walking survey (more than 1000 km2 surveyed areas and 10500 sites) • Stereoscope analysis of vertical air photographs (5000 features) • Undervaluation of the need of sources-integration Specific problem has been faced mainly as follow • Information available from the archaeological model • Localisation of area of interest using documentary sources The main problems related to this approach is a too strong dependency from • archaeological visibility related to the use of soil • archaeological visibility related to the material culture (= invisibility of some specific historical periods) • Inaccessible areas from the ground • Progressive degeneration of many of the surface finds due to more than half a century of intensive ploughing • Landscape development in the last 50-80 years
  36. 36. Summary of modern approach Ikonos-2 MSS Verticals Aerial survey lidar QuickBird-2 Obliques Data processing (Colour Composites; NDVI, PCA; TCT; DS…) Georeferencing, interpretation/mapping, classification, etc. Ground verification througth Field Walking Survey, geophysics, shovel test and test excavation ARCHAEOLOGICAL MAP SETTLEMENT AND LANDSCAPES PATTERN MODELS NEW INFORMATION FOR THE CONSERVATION OF CULTURAL HERITAGE DGPStechnology&mobileGIS Field Walking Survey DATA COLLECTION technical cartography, thematic, historical; DEM from maps and from DGPS; archaeological literature; documentary and toponomastic; iconography sources; ecc.GIS based interpretation and 3D visualization Large scale geophysical survey
  37. 37. Timber Castle Roman villa Temple or roman villa Necropoli Hillfort Roman villa Roman villa
  38. 38. Field walking survey Grid collection (phisical and virtual) GPS position of specific surface findings and field data integration Mapping the path of surveyed areas, etc…
  39. 39. DEM generated from The DGPS survey of the area Draping of the oblique Draping of the grad s. Draping of the interpratation
  40. 40. Urban Stratigraphy of Modena
  41. 41. Territory TIME Population Resources
  42. 42. The Promise and Challenge of Archaeological Data Integration Archaeology’s long-term and spatially extensive data on society, economy, human biology, population, and environment has the potential to contribute uniquely to scientific understandings of socio-ecological dynamics. The fundamental challenge is to enable scientifically meaningful use of the expanding corpus of archaeological data.
  43. 43. Archaeology as science • Scientific method including identification of research problem, theoretical basis for research, hypotheses, test implications, confirmation, testability, explanation. • Science involves rigorous analysis of a fair test of alternative explanations using specific criteria; explanations are confirmed by multiple lines of evidence. • Archaeology seeks to understand social or culture behavior through a scientific method.
  44. 44. fase finale della Media età del Bronzo (1450 a.C.)
  45. 45. Redù Rastellino Gaggio S. Agata Pradella ??