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Introduction to Archaeology


Describe the methods archaeologists use to achieve these goals ... Indiana Jones. First Lab. Archaeology and the Media. Archaeologists commonly misrepresented ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introduction to Archaeology

Introduction to Archaeology
Sean Rafferty AS 120 442-4713
M, W, 1-2, and by Appt.
  • READ IT!!!
  • Contact Info
  • Course Description
  • Grading
  • Labs40 Exams60
  • Gen Ed
  • Text E-Res (pwant104)
  • Online notes
  • Cheating/Plagiarism
  • Schedule

Course Goals
  • Define archaeology as a science
  • Explain the goals of Archaeology
  • Describe the methods archaeologists use to
    achieve these goals
  • Provide case studies as exemplars

5 Misconceptions of Archaeology
  • Foreign Exotic Setting
  • Adventurous
  • Treasure Hunting for Profit
  • Confused with Paleontology
  • Practiced by Rich/Elite

4 Subfields of Anthropology
  • Anthropology holistic study of humanity
  • 1. Archaeology study of past human culture
  • 2. Cultural Anthro. study of extant human
  • 3. Biological Anthro. study of human biology
    and evolution
  • 4. Linguistic Anthro. study of human

What is Archaeology?
  • Archaeology study of human past through
    material culture

Justifications for Archaeology
  • Quest for Knowledge
  • We can learn from the past
  • Past is part of our heritage and identity
  • The past is an irreplaceable resource
  • Cultural Resource Management (CRM)

Justifications for Archaeology
  • The past is a source of power in the present
  • Archaeologists can either prevent or contribute
    to the misuse of the past
  • He who controls the past, controls the future
    (George Orwell, 1984)
  • Who controls the past, controls the future who
    controls the present, controls the past (Rage
    Against the Machine, Testify)

Case Study Archaeology and Power
  • Gustaf Kossinna and Nazi Archaeology
  • Brief bio of Kossinna
  • Born 1858
  • 1902, Berlin, studied and taught archaeology
  • Pioneered analysis of prehistoric settlement
  • Best known for questionable interpretations of
    relationship between material culture and
  • The Origin of the Germani

Gustaf Kossinna
Kossinnas Legacy Nationalist German Archaeology
  • Kossinna a nationalist conviction that the
    culture and interests of his nation superior to
    those of other nations
  • Influenced his interpretations of prehistory
  • Kossinnas basic arguments
  • Germany was the center of prehistoric
  • Other cultures less developed than Germans
  • Original geographic distribution of "German Race"
    included most of Eastern Europe
  • Bronze Age Europe populated by Germans only
    later occupied by Slavs

Kossinnas Germania
Kossinnas Legacy Diffusionism
  • Diffusionism idea that culture is developed in
    one area (e.g., Germany) and spreads to other
  • Potential problem when all cultural developments
    explained by diffusionist arguments developed
    area contributes culture to more primitive area
  • Kossinnas political bias for German superiority
    influenced his interpretations of prehistory

Kossinnas Ideas and the Nazis
  • Kossinna dies in 1931, Nazis came to power 1933
  • Kossinnas ideas co-opted by Nazis, esp. Himmler
  • Nazi goal conquest of Europe
  • Idea that Europe originally German used to
    justify Nazi aggression
  • Nazi party funds archaeology, but researchers
    must embrace party nationalist ideology, and
    Kossinnas basic ideas
  • Archaeology was serving the state, not the truth

Critique of Kossinnas ideas
  • Allowed cultural biases to influence
    interpretations of the past to an extreme degree
  • Greatly overestimated the persistence of ethnic
    groups over time
  • Misinterpreted the degree to which material
    culture can represent ethnicity

Nazis…I hate these guys - Indiana Jones
First Lab
  • Archaeology and the Media
  • Archaeologists commonly misrepresented
  • Even in educational programming
  • good TV vs. good science
  • Focus on rare, sensational vs. ordinary everyday
  • Overly simplified (or simply wrong) explanations
  • Example Josh Bernstein, Digging for the Truth,
    History Channel Scotty Moore, Bone Detectives,
    Discovery Channel
  • Assignment find an example of popular
    presentation of archaeology in the media
  • Questions? Data? Experts? Qualifications?
    Alternative explanations?
  • Effects on public perception of archaeology?

Im a giant tool.