El Camino College

Anthropology Department

Anthropology 3 Introduction to Archaeology

Dr. D. Blair Gibson

Anthropology 3

Dr. Blair Gibson

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Class Information:

Anthropology 3, Section 2095 Room: ArtB 305
11:15 AM - 12:40 PM

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Course syllabus:  


Anthropology 3           Introduction to Archaeology - Fall 2018           Dr. Blair Gibson

Office Art B 330 D       Phone: (310) 532-3670 x 3580       email: dbgibson@elcamino.edu

Office hrs: Mon; Wed: 1:00-2:00 PM;   T Th. 8:15-9:15 AM, F 1:10-2:10 PM

                  Faculty web page: www.elcamino.edu/faculty/dbgibson/anthro3 

Course Description: This course is a survey of the history, ideas, issues, and research methodologies within the field of archaeology. Students will be introduced to basic techniques of archaeological data analysis.

3 units; 3 hours lecture Recommended Preparation: eligibility for English 1A Credit, Degree Applicable TransferCSU, UC


Important Note: This is a hybrid course. All quizzes and objective exams will be taken online via Canvas.


Textbook: Archaeology, 7th ed., Renfrew and Bahn; 6th ed. is ok too.


   Course resources: Syllabi, study guides and other handouts and Powerpoint lectures

    can be viewed on the class web page, accessed through my faculty index page. A copy of

    the textbook is on reserve in the library in the reserve reading area. The instructor can also

    lend earlier editions of the book to students in need.

Course Objectives

1) Describe the history of the field of archaeology starting from its origins in 16th century antiquarianism in Europe.

2) Distinguish between the humanistic and scientific paradigms of research within archaeology and between the archaeological traditions of Europe and the United States.

3) Identify and critically assess the major theoretical schools of the past and present which have had an impact upon archaeological research.

4) Recognize the role played by the analysis of formal attributes in artifact seriation and the principles of frequency seriation. Evaluate the applications and accuracy of dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating.

5) Enumerate the stages of a typical program of archaeological research.

6) Contrast the kinds of data produced by field survey and excavation, and identify the kinds of studies for which these data may be appropriate.

7) Explain remote sensing techniques currently used for site reconnaissance and feature detection.

8) Describe the common techniques of manufacture, decoration, and patterns of use of prehistoric pottery. Describe the processes which lead to the production of terra cotta, earthenware, glazed pottery, and porcelain.

9) Assess the means by which archaeologists reconstruct the components of past environments such as temperature, precipitation, floral and faunal communities.

10) Discuss the relationship between social complexity and other aspects of past societies.

11) Recognize the limitations and potential of the archaeological record for reconstructing prehistoric religious systems.

12) Delineate the problems associated with using ethnohistorical and historical sources of information and recognize the potential of ethnographic analogy.

13) Evaluate the factors leading to the domestication of plants and animals in the Old World. Describe the effects that domestication had on the biology of plants and animals.

14) Identify the common classes of lithic material from which prehistoric peoples fashioned tools. Differentiate between ground stone and chipped stone tools. Contrast Lower Paleolithic with Upper Paleolithic lithic manufacturing technologies.


Student Learning Outcomes:SLO #1 Radiocarbon dating: In a multiple choice exam, students will demonstrate a familiarity with different aspects of the radiocarbon dating technique by answering correctly questions concerned with 1) the nature of unstable isotopes, 2) what a half-life measures, 3) an awareness of the difference between conventional dating and dating by use of a linear accelerator, and 4) an understanding of the calibration of radiocarbon dates. SLO #2 Remote Sensing: In a multiple choice and matching questions type objective exam, students will demonstrate an understanding of the techniques of remote sensing in archaeology including aerial photography,

electrical resistivity, use of a proton magnetometer, ground penetrating radar, and photos taken by satellites. SLO #3 Sample Sherds: In a two page report, students will demonstrate an understanding of the process of pre-modern pottery making. The report will document their findings from the examination of sample sherds from archaeological contexts. In the report they will correctly recognize the mineral make-up of the paste

and slip, identify the steps the pottery went through to form the vessels, indentify the firing environment and its effects on the paste, identify the likely forms of the vessel, and identify the functions of the vessels.


     ADA Statement: El Camino College is committed to providing educational accommodations for students with disabilities upon the timely request by the student to the instructor. A student with a disability, who would like to request an academic accommodation, is responsible for identifying herself/himself to the instructor and to the Special Resources Center. To make arrangements for academic accommodations, contact the Special Resources Center.


Course requirements 

Course requirements: 2 labs, 3 quizzes, 2 midterms and a final exam 

Grade weighting:    Exams and quizzes 70% , Labs 30%

Points breakdown: Exams 70 pts., Quiz 1 & 2: 15 pts, Dating Quiz 10 pts. Labs 50 pts. ea.,   


The tests and quizzes: The quizzes are meant to prepare students for the exams. The exams are multiple choice and are non-cumulative. You will have to bring a Scantron form (882-E) to the exams and the quizzes. The tests cover the information from the lectures, text, labs, and films that will be shown.

       After a test or quiz is taken, you may evaluate your performance against a scale provided by the instructor. This scale will originate with the highest score that was achieved by the class, and descend from that in 10% increments. Periodic cumulative scales will also be provided, called “progress reports.” Scores may also be accessed via Gradebook.

Extra Credit: There will be many opportunities to earn extra credit in this class. See guidelines for details. No extra credit presentations or written submissions will be allowed during the last two weeks of class. A student will be barred from doing any further extra credit work if the total number of unexcused absences and tardies exceeds 2 week’s worth of instruction, and if any sort of absences totals three weeks. The cap on extra credit points is 45.

Make-ups: A make-up exam will only administered for extraordinary reasons that are confirmed by independent documentation.

Labs: Students carry out the lab procedures with partners, but are individually responsible for the write-ups and graphs. Thirty points of the lab grade are for participation. Participation is very important in order for the lab to be carried out on schedule, and for the resulting data to be equally shared. 10 points will be deducted for every day a student is absent from a lab. It is the student's responsibility to sign in on a sign-up sheet on a lab day. Students will still earn participation points even if no lab report is turned in. The lab write-ups are due on the Tuesday of the week following the completion of the in-class work. They cannot be submitted electronically. Grammar, spelling, and organization will figure into the grading of the labs.


*****Please acquaint me with any special problems you might have at the beginning, rather than at the end of the semester******


Standards of Student Behavior


Student responsibilities: Full participation is expected from the participants in this course. This responsibility entails attending class meetings, attending lab sessions, turning in work punctually, and reading the assigned materials. There are consequences for not living up to these responsibilities:


  Late assignments - I drop a lab by the point equivalent of a single grade (10%) for every class meeting it is late before I grade it. The implication is that all points for a lab report will have been lost after the passage of four class meetings (participation points are unaffected). Mechanical problems with text production and unexcused absences will not defer penalties. I will not accept late work during finals week.


  “Lost” assignments - My operative assumption is that I don't lose assignments. If it is claimed that I have lost a student’s work the following procedure is followed: 1) I will request that the student immediately produce a back-up photocopy of the assignment in question within 24 hours of the request. 2) A search is made of my office, car, and home for the student’s original work. If the original is not found, 3) I retain the backup until the very end of the semester. At the end of the semester I look over the student’s record of attendance and assignment completion. If the student’s class attendance and work submission record is irregular, or the student's backup looks fishy, then I conclude that I have been lied to, and that my time has been wasted in a futile search. Not only do I throw the “backup” into the trash can, but I will also erase all of the student’s extra credit points from my records. The student assumes responsibility for the fate of any assignments purportedly shoved under my door, placed in my box, or shoved in may hand in any other venue other than the classroom.


Attendance – I take attendance at the beginning of class. It is the responsibility of the student who arrives after roll has been taken to make their presence known to the instructor at the end of class. This has to be done on the day of the tardy, as I will not make adjustments to my attendance log retroactively. Being late or leaving class early on a lecture day is never OK. Students who leave a lecture before the end of the period will be counted as absent.   


Absences – Even though ten points (per day) will be deducted for an absence from a lab, students will receive participation points for a lab even if no lab report is handed in. Excessive absences from class meetings will figure into my grading at the end of term if the grade score is borderline (within 3% of the upper boundary). I consider cumulative unexcused absences exceeding a week to be excessive, in line with college policy. In borderline situations students will be promoted to the higher grade level if their absence/tardy total is not excessive.


Tablets, laptop computers and cell phones: The use of these devices is not allowed during the class period with the exception of labs, when students can use tablets and laptops. Anyone found to be using a cell phone during a class period will be asked to leave the class for the day. If a student leaves for the bathroom carrying a cell phone, I assume that the student is disrupting class in order to place a call and will be disciplined – so don’t take your cell phone to the bathroom. 


Unrighteous behavior – this is behavior that is disruptive, and is frequently associated with academic failure: 1) leave the classroom while lecture is in progress, and for added effect, cross directly in front of me to make sure I lose my train of thought. If you do this I will give you an unexcused absence for the day 2) talk to your neighbor or sleep while lecture is in progress. 3) take a cell phone call in class during lecture 4) play games on your cell phone or text message while class is in progress. There are consequences if you use your cell phone in class, or if you leave on a purported bathroom visit with a cell phone. If you do this you will be asked to leave the classroom for the period. These are all effective ways of communicating to me your interest level in the class, and your respect for me as a teacher. These are also behaviors that are highly correlated with failure.          

Cheating: I don't fool around with those who cheat. Cheating includes copying off another's test, copying another student's assignment – and yes this means graphs for labs, or lifting material from a source, including the text or the internet, without proper acknowledgement (plagerism). Academic dishonesty with regard to a submission for extra credit will result in the loss of both the privilege of performing extra credit work, but all extra credit points.


 Drops - Generally speaking, I will automatically drop anyone with 1 ½ -2 consecutive week's worth of absences. However, oversights occur, so ultimately it is the responsibility of the student to withdraw from the class if the student wishes to do so.


 Incompletes - an incomplete will only be given to a student caught in the throes of a crisis not related to class performance.


 Grade Reporting – All scores will be posted on Gradebook, both during the semester, and at the end.


Letters of Recommendation: I will not agree to write a letter of recommendation for a student who has not completed a course with me. Better letters generally result from the student having had several courses with me. If a student would have gotten a C grade in a course, but received an A or B due to completing extra credit work, the letter will reflect these facts.


*****If you have any special problems, circumstances, or pressures please discuss them with me as soon as you can, not at the end of the term!***************************


Week    Lecture Sequence and Readings ________________________________________________________________________


(1)  What do archaeologists do?                                                                         Introduction

     Areas of archaeological research and careers in the field.                 Chpt. 15: pp. 572-5

                                                                                                            Chpt. 16


(2)  A brief history of the field and a survey of the schools of theory                         Chpt. 1

            within modern archaeology.                                          (See also Chpt. 12 for details)


(3)  Tuesday September 11th – quiz on class policies in the syllabus.


      History of archaeology II.


(4)  Dating techniques                                                                                               Chpt. 4


            Quiz on the history of archaeology Tuesday September 18th


(5 & 6)  The methodologies of archaeology: research design, survey and sampling.     Chpt. 3


(5)     Dating Quiz Thursday September 27th


(7)   Tuesday October 9th, Exam 1


(7)    The methodologies of archaeology: the archaeological record,                   Chpts. 2 & 3

remote sensing, and excavation                            


(8)    Lab #1 The dirt lab Bring in a dirt sample!                                           Chpts. 6 & 13


(9)   The reconstruction of past environments and landscapes                                      Chpt. 6


(10)  You are what you eat: the recovery and interpretation of food remains                 Chpt. 7

                                                                                                  See also Chpt.13 pp. 495-500


(11 - 13) Lab # 2 Prehistoric technologies: ceramics                                     Chpt. 8: 342-346


(11)   Tuesday November 6th Midterm 2


(14)  Prehistoric technologies: lithics                                                             Chpt. 8: 317-332


(15)  Archeometallurgy                                                                                 Chpt. 8: 347-356


(16)  Historical and Social Archaeology                                                         Chpt. 5


(16)   Final exam on Friday December 14th






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List assignments here. 

Ethnobotany (Dirt) Lab

Collecting the sample: collect a sample of dirt 5 x 5 cm in volume. Any dirt is acceptable, but I would recommend that if you want a more interesting lab experience that a darker colored soil is preferable. It is also a good idea not to sample a soil's surface and root layer, so dig down 5-10 cm before extracting the sample. Dry the sample for a day or two, and place it in a paper bag.

You may do the processing of soil jointly with one other person in the class.

Prior to flotation:

1. Record provenience information: describe where the sample came from (locale/specific context/depth)

2. Identify the Munsel color code of the sample by pressing a bit of your soil flat and comparing it to the color chips in the book.

3. Divide the sample into two equal halves.

Take one of the sample portions and float it by either of one of the two techniques below:

Option 1: Bucket flotation:         

1. Prepare your sample by crushing any lumps. These will tend to trap organic remains, prohibiting them from floating.

2. Hold the #10 screen sieve above a bucket of water. Pour one of the halves of your sample into the #10 sieve and then dip this into the water so that the rim of the sieve just protrudes above the surface. Don't totally immerse the sieve or you will lose a portion of your sample and contaminate other student's samples. Agitate the sieve in the water for a few minutes, and then scoop out the buoyant fraction (the stuff that floats) with the hand-held strainer. If there is organic material floating in the white bucket after you have done this, then pour the water in the white bucket through the #60 screen or the tea strainer into an empty white bucket until you have removed most of the floating material. Use your fingers to take up any seeds sticking to the sides of the sieve. Place the recovered organic material on a piece of paper to dry. This is the flot fraction.

3. Empty out that portion of the sample that has sunk to the bottom of the sieve (the heavy fraction) onto another piece of paper to dry.

After the flot and heavy fraction have dried:

  • 1. Visually sort the heavy fraction, discarding all pebbles and roots. Record the data on the floatation form.
  • 2. Sort the float fraction visually and with a microscope. Record the data on the float form.

Option 2: Froth flotation machine:

Pour the dirt sample into the bucket in the machine. Give the machine enough time to send the organic component into the two filters. If necessary, use a plastic knife to direct any remaining organic material in the bucket into the spillway. After no more material remains in the bucket, empty the two filter pans onto a piece of newspaper or paper towel. Lift out the heavy fraction from the screen inside the flotation tank and dump it separately on another piece of newspaper. List the data from each float fraction separately on the flotation form.

Take the other portion of the soil sample and:

1. Weigh it.

2. Run the sample through the four graduated screens. Place the finest

mesh size on the bottom, followed by the next finest, etc. Pour the soil

sample through the screens while shaking. Break up clumps with fingers.

Pull out and discard plant roots.

3. Weigh each fraction and record the weights in the appropriate space on the recording form. List artifacts and ecofacts from the coarsest of the fractions on the line on the recording form.  Use the microscope to scan the soil in order to detect items such as seeds and bug parts that are not easily visible to the naked eye. Record the number of these under the categories on your form. Repeat the procedure with the other fractions.

Following data retrieval and recording:

1. Add up the counts for each column on each chart on the form. Construct bar or pie graphs for each horizontal line on the two charts for which there are data, and two graphs for the totals. Divide the weights for each fraction of the dry-sieving exercise by the total weight and construct a graph reflecting the resulting frequencies. Your graphs must be your own, not done together with your partner.

2. Write up (to be done on an individual basis): Write (typed, double-spaced) a one and one-half page description of your data. Discuss the type of soil (sand, clay, silt, loam). What can you infer from the frequencies of the weights of the fractions of the dry soil sample concerning the type of soil (see the table below)? What does the color indicate about its mineral composition? Was the soil anthropogenic or natural? Support conclusions by referring to your data. Compare the results of the two techniques, sieving and floating, for retrieving the different categories of organic data. For instance, did the floating technique or sieving technique produce more seeds? Which technique produced the most charcoal? Which technique was better for producing organic remains overall? In terms of the quantity and quality of the various categories of data that they produced, what were the advantages and disadvantages of the two techniques?

The data collection sheet must accompany each report.

Table 1.  Fractions from the screen sieves:

1st sieve - #5 mesh - gravel - gravel fraction

2nd sieve - #10 mesh - fine gravel - coarse fraction                            

3rd sieve - #60 mesh - coarse sand - medium fraction

4th sieve - #230 mesh - fine sand - fine fraction

Bottom pan - silt and clay - silt fraction

Identification help: The exoskeleton of insects is made of chitin. Under magnification this often has an amber-like appearance. Seeds run a large gamut in size. Be on the lookout for very small seeds. Finally, not all plant stems and roots are wood.  Wood has multiple rings (see diagram above).

Finally, charcoal is jet black and somewhat shiny, and it will float.                                       

Flotation Form

Researcher's Names________________________________________


Provenience of Sample:  City_______________________, Address or locale_____________________________________________________

Nature of context, including significant associated features:__________



Sample weight dry:______________Munsell color:________________


Dry Sample counts:        seeds    wood     charcoal   bones   bug parts   snails     wgt.  

Silt fraction:     

Fine fraction:

Medium fraction:

Coarse fraction:       

Gravel fraction

Column totals:

Artifacts and ecofacts________________________________________

Wet sample:     

Counts:                      #seeds       wood   charcoal     bones   bug parts    snails

Flot (fine sieve)

Heavy fraction or flot (coarser sieve) 

Column totals:

Artifacts and ecofacts____________________________________________

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Course Material:  


Extra Credit Guidelines     Dr. Gibson


     As I value a strong work ethic, students are encouraged to improve their scores through extra-credit work. I keep a running tally of extra credit points at the far column of my grade book. These are added to a student’s point total after I have calculated the semester grade scale. I don’t log extra credit submissions individually in my book or in Gradebook due to the varied forms that they may take, so students should retain items that have been handed back to them in case there is a dispute concerning what the student has done. The effect that extra credit points have on a student’s grade depends upon where they stand with respect to grade boundaries, and how much extra credit work has been done. There is an overall cap on extra credit for every class – consult your syllabus.


No presentations or any other submissions will be allowed during the final two weeks of class.


There are three ways to earn extra credit:


1) I believe that rather than being a purely solitary exercise - the knowledge that the student gains should be shared with the class. Extra credit can therefore take the form of a short (c. 5 min.) oral presentation on something the student has come across in the media that is relevant to the course material. This exercise benefits both the student (gaining confidence in public speaking), and the class. Yes, this also means that written reports are not acceptable. Any of the following may be turned to as a source: a recent newspaper or magazine article, a book, a film or TV program, a relevant museum exhibit, or a public lecture on a topic relevant to the class. Things culled from internet media outlets are ok, too, except as noted below


     It is not a term paper or research project. This means that reports on old books, chapters from textbooks, or on a topic that you have researched will not be allowed. Please don't go to the library and dig up something arcane or obscure from a scientific journal. It should be something that the class can easily relate to, and relevant to some aspect of the course material; e.g. in the case of physical anthropology, no dinosaurs, please. The article must be from a publication that appeared this year, preferably within the last few months. Promotional internet press releases, internet summaries of full length articles appearing in print elsewhere, informational texts from institutional web sites, and Wikipedia or other online encyclopedia entries are not ok. Anything from the web should be about four printed pages long minimum. Finally, extra credit means doing extra work, so reports drawn from your life experiences, however interesting, are not allowed.


     Please clear whatever it is you are considering with me prior to class, and give me an idea what you are going to say or do. Please, no DVD’s. The presentation should ideally be 5 minutes or under. Please retain a copy of the article you presented, initialed by myself, in case there is a question about your extra-credit points at the end of term


Points and limitations:  I will give 10 points per presentation. Students are limited to 1 presentation per class meeting, and no more than three presentations total will be allowed. Students may not duplicate the presentation of another student.


2) An officially sanctioned visit or excursion to a relevant museum exhibit, conference, symposium, ritual gathering, public lecture, collection of primates, or archaeological site. Trips made by the anthropology club often do fall into this category, and can earn the participant points.


   Unless the visit is to an institution listed at the back of this handout or to a lecture or conference announced in class, the visit must be sanctioned by myself before points will be allocated. Do not go to something and expect it to be retroactively sanctioned. Sanctioning depends upon its relevance to the class. The number of points awarded is variable, depending upon the distance the student traveled in order to participate, and the cost of the event to the student. Visits to most museums are worth 10 pts.


If you visit a large museum, make certain that you view an exhibit relevant to the class’ subject matter. If you go to a conference where multiple presentations are made, briefly describe each presentation that you witnessed to ensure full credit.


Submit a one-page, typed description of the museum exhibit with the ticket attached. Your report must convince me that you viewed exhibits at the institution, and yes, I do check their websites.


3) Attending a free department-sponsored lecture or anthropology club fundraiser. As the former are free and occur on campus. 5 pts. are awarded per lecture. In order to gain credit, the student must submit a 1 page typed summary of the lecture. This summary must reach me within a week of the event. A receipt with your name on it suffices for a fundraiser.   


A word of advice: Don't wait until the last minute to do extra credit. The reasons are: 1) the instructor may be absent on the last day when presentations are allowed. 2) Many other people do this, and they may have the same article to read, and only one person can present any one article. 3) articles don't always conveniently present themselves in moments of desperation, and 4) you may not make it to the target institution in time for admittance.


5) Finally, extra credit is meant to be an assist to students who are otherwise making an effort to do well in the class, it is not meant to be a means of compensating for poor attendance. Therefore, students with an excess of two week’s worth of unexcused absences will be barred from acquiring additional extra credit points. Students will also be barred from earning extra credit if they disrupt class with tardies – arriving at class after role taking has ended. Each tardy will count as ½ unexcused absence.


Relevant Institutions (by discipline). You may only visit an institution for credit that corresponds to the class that you are enrolled in. The credit is earned for the visit to the facility, one does earn separate allotments of credit for separate exhibits or artifacts within the facility.  


Physical Anthropology (Anthropology 1):

San Diego Museum of Man – Credit only for viewing the physical anthropology exhibits on the second floor (ticket is absolutely required to obtain credit).

Southern California Primate Research Forum (scprf.ucsc.edu)

            Gibbon Conservation Center (gibboncenter.org). Note: You cannot visit this institution for credit after the exam which concerns non-human primates.

            Natural History Museum – small exhibition on hominin evolution in the Age of Mammals Hall - 5 pts. Only. You must describe the hominin exhibit, not the exhibits of other mammals.


Cultural Anthropology (Anthropology 2):

Fowler Museum of Cultural History/ Fowler Museum at UCLA

            Bowers Museum of Cultural Art (www.bowers.org). Address: 2002 N. Main St.

 Santa Ana

            San Diego Museum of Man

            Autry National Center (non-cowboy exhibits only).

            Pacific Asia Museum

            Japanese American Museum & Chinese American Museum - both in downtown LA.

Skirball Museum (cultural exhibits only, no history or pop-culture exhibits)

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (Native American exhibits only)


Archaeology (Anthropology 3) see also institutions listed below under Ancient Civilizations:

UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology   (www.ioa.ucla.edu).

            Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (archaeology exhibits 5 pts. only).

            Bowers Museum of Cultural Art (call ahead to enquire about archaeology-themed exhibits).

Getty Center in Malibu (not the one in the Sepulveda pass, unless there is an archaeology

exhibit). You will receive 12 pts. if you had to pay for parking – you must submit parking receipt.

Pacific Asia Museum, Los Robles Ave, Pasadena.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (archaeological exhibits only – e.g the pre-Columbian art in the Art of the Americas Hall, exhibits on ancient SE Asian art)

Chen Art Gallery (in the Sunrider Corporate headquarters on Carson, you must call ahead for an appointment to see it (310) 781-3808).


Ancient Civilizations of the World/ of the Americas (Anthropology 12 & 8)

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), archaeological exhibits only (e.g. pre-Columbian works in their Art of the Americas gallery. See their website for relevant lectures as well.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (archaeology exhibits only: 5 pts.)

            Bowers Museum of Cultural Art (call ahead to enquire about archaeology-themed exhibits,

 or go on to their website).

            San Diego Museum of Man – Small permanent exhibit on the Maya, only for Anthro. 8

 students (10 pts. only unless there is a relevant special exhibit).

            Getty Center in Malibu (Anthro. 12 only, except for temporary exhibits).

            Chen Art Gallery (Anthro. 12 only).

             Mesoamerican Network – Now based at CSULA, visit their website for details on the

 biannual conference.

Skirball Museum: mostly does exhibits on Jewish history, but has a small permanent archaeology exhibit. Thursday is their free day.

Mesoamerican Society – Also based at CSULA. Mesoamericansocietycsula.blogspot.com

            New World Archaeology Council – sponsors occasional symposia.

            Archaeological Institute of America – sponsors talks primarily on Old World Archaeology

around the southland, but occasionally on the New World as well. Check their website for

information under the Los Angeles or Orange Co. Chapters.


Anthropology 3    Study guide for the first midterm     



Readings (Renfrew and Bahn sixth ed.): Introduction, Chpts. 1-4 (see also chpt. 12 for finer points of theory); The connection between archaeology and politics, and professional ethics: Chpt. 15: 556. The CRM industry: Chpt. 16.


Weeks 1 & 2 Chpts. 1, 12, 15 & 16 


Archaeologists: John Leyland (or Leland), William Camden, Thomas Jefferson, C.J. Thomsen, Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers, Johann Ramsauer, Giovanni Belzoni, Austen Henry Layard, Arthur Evans, Heinrich Schliemann, Ephraim Squire, John Wesley Powell, Cyrus Thomas, Frank Hamilton Cushing, W.M. Flinders Petrie, Alfred V. Kidder, Vere Gordon Childe, Walter Taylor, Lewis Binford, Ian Hodder, Timothy Earle, Carole Crumley, Richard Blanton.


Schools: humanism, diffusionism, direct historical approach, the new archaeology/processual archaeology, strucutural archaeology/symbolic archaeology/interpretive archaeology/ post-processual archaeology, Marxist archaeology, Political Economy.


Organizations: SAA, AIA


Terms: humanity, reflexivity, multivocality, provenience, strata –um, seriation, political economy, cultural history, tell, language family, problem-oriented research.


Phases: speculative/antiquarianism, chronological/ classificatory, new archaeology/processual archaeology, post-processual or symbolic archaeology


Topics: The three age system. What is the nature of archaeology as a discipline? What is its subject matter? What are its’ aims? Where does one find archaeologists in universities? What kinds of jobs are there outside of the university? What are the academic qualifications for the different jobs?


Sites: Pompeii, Herculaneum, Hallstatt, Konossos, Troy (Hisarlik/Wilusa), Nineveh, Nimrud, Cranbourne Chase, Pecos, Çatal Höyük


Cultures: Hittites, "Mound Builders," Minoan, Mycenaean, Assyrian, Egyptian.


Know in outline the divergent history of archaeology in the USA and Europe, in particular Britain. How do scientific approaches in archaeology differ from humanistic approaches? Which school falls under which heading? What is the relevance of this difference to the way archaeology is practiced in the USA and Europe? 


How have the approaches of archaeologists to fieldwork changed over time? What were the early techniques like? How have the motivations of field workers changed over the last two centuries? What motivated Schliemann and Evans? How did they regard mythology?


Know the major schools that were discussed in class, and the people involved with them. How do their positions differ? How have they treated topics like the origin of the state? What are the weaknesses of the various schools? 


How did Marxism influence the thinking of V.G. Childe?


Boxes: Digging Pompeii, Evolution: Darwin’s Great Idea, North American Archaeological Pioneers, The Development of Field Techniques, Processual Archaeology: Key Concepts, Interpretive or Postprocessual Archaeologies, Interpretive Archaeologies at Çatalhöyük



Week 3    Dating techniques  Chpt. 4


Terms: absolute dating, relative dating, stratigraphy, seriation, frequency seriation, formal attributes, contextual seriation, cross-dating, battleship curve, radiocarbon, accelerator mass spectrometry, calibration, isotope, decay, atomic number, mass number, tree ring, counter, optically stimulated luminescence, bristlecone pine, sealed context.   


Figures: W. M. Flinders Petrie, Willard Libby, A.E. Douglass, Hans Suess


Examples: nails, lighting fixtures, bottles, clay pipes, coins.


Problems: gaps in the tree ring sequence, old wood, variation in the sun’s radiation output.


Know the materials that are applied to each technique. What are formal attributes and how do they figure in seriation? What does a battleship curve describe? How does one choose a dating technique? How should one extract and handle a radiocarbon sample? When and where can dendrochronology be used? Which are the more accurate dating techniques? What can radiocarbon dating be used on? What are its limitations? What are some of the difficulties of the technique?


Boxes: The Principles of Radioactive Decay, How to Calibrate Radiocarbon Dates, Dating the Thera Eruption.


Weeks 4 & 5 Survey  (Chpt. 3)


Terms: units, sampling, sample universe, stratified sample, vertical and oblique aerial photographs, large format cameras, crop marks, infrared film, archaeological information center.


Techniques: paper survey, ground reconnaissance, aerial reconnaissance, remote sensing techniques, incl. soil resistivity, magnetometer, infrared photography, phosphate survey, metal detectors, ground penetrating radar. GIS, GPS, systematic survey.


Approaches: regional survey, sampling, intensive and extensive survey


Examples: Melos, Cahercommaun Project (my own project), Valley of Mexico surveys (incl. Teotihuacan), Valley of Oaxaca (Human Ecology Project), Abu Salabikh, Pajarito Project, Cerén, Tel Halula


Boxes: (apart from the above) Sampling Strategies, Archaeological Sites from the Air, The Sydney Cyprus Survey Project, Identifying Archaeological Sites from Above, Lasers in the Jungle, Measuring Magnetism.


People: Julian Steward, Kent Flannery, Richard Blanton, Jason Ur  


Schools: cultural ecology, landscape archaeology


Questions: How do archaeologists structure their research?

How does survey fit into archaeological research strategies? What kinds of questions have archaeological survey projects tried to resolve? What are the advantages and drawbacks of sampling strategies?




Anthropology 3    Study Guide for the Second Test


Weeks 7 & 8 The Archaeological record and Excavation 


Chpts. 2 & 3



Remote Sensing(Chpt. 3)


Techniques: aerial photography, thermalography, soil resistivity, proton magnetometer, ground penetrating radar, study of declassified satellite images (CORONA), use of kites and drones.

Terms: crop marks, vertical and oblique photos, resolution/format, UV film, low, medium and high altitude photographs, Photostich or Photomerge, iron pan.  

Boxes: Identifying Archaeological Features from Above, Interpretation and Mapping from Aerial Images,  Measuring Magnetism. 

Sites: English and Irish landscapes (incl. Co. Clare), Caracol, Hascherkeller, Piedras Marcadas, Ceren. 

Be familiar with the optimum conditions for the use of the various techniques discussed in class.


Chapter 2 The Archaeological Record


Terms:site,unit, feature, artifact, ecofact, midden, matrix, provenience, screen (or sieve), strata, bioturbation artifacts,provenience, matrix, primary context, anaerobic 

People: Mortimer Wheeler 

Techniques: sampling, area excavation, step excavation, box-grid, sieving (incl. water sieving). 

Soil chemistry: acidic, alkaline  

Topics: site formation, preservation of materials 

Boxes: Chpt 2: The four boxes dealing with preservation conditions.


Under which conditions are organic remains preserved? What is the underlying common denominator whereby organic remains are preserved or decompose? What will an acidic soil (or bog) destroy or preserve? How about an alkaline soil? What will preserve under almost any conditions?


Movie: Ice Man Murder Mystery (see also relevant box in Chpt. 2: “Cold Preservation 3”) 

Given the condition of ancient human remains that archaeologists usually encounter, what was exceptional about Ötzi and his possessions? During which period did he live? What kinds of economic and cultural transitions were taking place during this period? What is the evidence that reveals details of his lifestyle? Can we determine definitively whether he was a hunter-gatherer or agriculturalist? How was his body preserved? What did his stomach contents reveal about his lifestyle and the circumstances of his death? How about his clothing? Where is he thought to have come from? What were the social conditions of the time? How did he die? What did the genetic evidence reveal?   


Chpt 3 Excavation 

 Questions: What are the stages of an archaeological excavation? What are the benefits and drawbacks of excavation? What are the considerations that dictate a given excavation strategy?


Examples discussed in class: Mount Sandel, Co. Derry, Ireland, Maiden Castle, Dorset, England, Dysert O’Dea, Co. Clare Ireland.  What approach was taken to the excavation of each of these sites? Why was the particular approach chosen?  

Boxes: Jamestown Rediscovery, Excavating the Amesbury Archer, Excavating an Urban Site. 

Chapter 6 Environmental Reconstruction 

Terms: isostatic uplift, geomorphology,  palynology, pollen rain, tree ring data, microbotanical remains including phytoliths, macrobotanical remains, midden, microfauna including mollusks and insects, macrofauna, zooarchaeology, ard, chitin.   

Topics: relic beach terraces, study of cave sediments, soil micromorphology, tree rings and climate, ecological damage in the Mediterranean, loess, determinations of a region's ecology from species inventories on sites, macrobotanical remains - paleoethnobotany, beetles and snails, oxygen isotopes, ancient coastlines, overkill hypothesis (big game extinctions), preserved ard marks. 

Techniques: Munsell Soil Color Charts, palynology, site catchment analysis, core sampling.  

Sites: Franchthi Cave, Pompeii, Bolsa Chica, Star Carr, the Burren (Ireland). 

People: Grahame Clark. 

Boxes: Sea and ice cores and global warming, El Niño and Global Warming, Doggerland, Pollen Analysis, Eland's Bay Cave. 

Chpt. 7; Chpt. 13 pp. 510-14 The Recovery and Interpretation of Food Remains. 

Concepts: Oasis theory, Neolithic revolution, secondary products revolution. 

Specializations: paleoethnobotany, zooarchaeology 

Techniques: residue analysis, screening/sieving, two techniques of flotation (froth and bucket), faunal analysis, stable isotopes, study of microfauna, preserved proteins on lithics and fats on ceramics.  

Topics: stable isotope analysis, animal teeth, origins and course of animal and plant domestication, taphonomy, seasonality, herd composition, insects, residue analysis including blood residue analysis and residue found in vessels, analysis of human teeth.  

People:  Peter Woodman, Andrew Moore, Andrew Sherratt, Ofer Bar-Yosef, Vere Gordon Childe, Robert Braidwood, Lewis Binford, Richard “Scotty” MacNeish, Kent Flannery.  

Terms: taphonomy, ard, macrobotanical remains, microbotanical remains, coprolite, phytolith, C3, C4 and CAM plants, minimum number of individuals (MNI), aurochs, mouflon, soay sheep, Kerry/Highland cow. 

Boxes and Case studies: Mount Sandel, Co. Derry, C-221, Co. Clare, Paleoethnobotany: a case study, Butser Farm, Investigating the Rise of Farming in Western Asia (Jarmo, Jericho), Seasonality at Star Carr, Taphonomy, Quantifying Animal Bones, The Study of Animal Teeth, Farming origins: a case study (Abu Hureyra), Roman York, Viking massacre on St. Brice’s day. Detecting change in the subsistence economy of central Mexico at Coxcatlan Cave.    

Chpt. 13 Guilá Naquitz and the Origins of Agriculture 

What are the differences between domesticated and wild plant and animal species, and between natural and hunted bone assemblages? Where was the horse domesticated, and for what reason? How about the sheep, cow, turkey and pig? How did domestication affect the appearance of these animals?  

     How did the animal remains found at Mt. Sandel allow Peter Woodman to reach a conclusion concerning sedentism during the Mesolithic? What was the significance of Mt. Sandel’s location? 

     How is it that so many macrobotanical remains were preserved at Abu Hureyra? How and where did plant and animal domestication occur? How long did a complete transformation to a Neolithic economy take at Abu Hureyra? 

     What are the signs that a given animal species has been domesticated? What were the initial motivations for domesticating the various animals that were discussed in class? Once domesticated, were there changes in the significance of domesticated animals to Neolithic economies?  

     In respect to the reexamination of MacNeish’s interpretation of the macrobotanical remains from Coxcatlan cave, did the results of stable isotope analysis agree with the macrobotanical evidence for the timing of initial maize growing and consumption in the Tehuacán valley?  

     Why did Kent Flannery choose Guilá Naquitz for excavation? What did the foragers eat from the surrounding landscape? What were the earliest cultigens that he found there? What conclusions did Robert Reynolds arrive at for the motivations of those who stayed at Guilá Naquitz to adopt cultigens? Which flotation technique did this project utilize?




Chpt. 8 Archaeometallurgy pp. 337-345

Terms: ore, slag, bellows, blowpipe, tuyere, furnace (bowl, shaft), prill, ingot, mold, sulphide, oxide, flux, crucible, bloom.

Techniques: fire setting, beneficiation, roasting, annealing, alloying, casting.

Analytical techniques: X-ray fluorescence, petrography.

Sites: Ross, Island, C-221

What are the properties of different types of metals and for what early purposes were they used? What were the techniques of early copper mining and smelting? What are the physical hurdles
of smelting differing kinds of metal ores and how were they overcome?

What information is provided to the archaeologist by XRF analysis and metallographic examination?

Be knowledgeable about the evolution of metal use and making from the hammering of native copper to the production of steel.    

Boxes: Metallographic Examination, Copper Production in Ancient Peru, Early Steelmaking

From the Soil Lab:

Terms: anthropogenic, loam.

Tools: Munsell Soil Color Chart, graduated sieves

Techniques: bucket flotation, froth flotation.

What do differing soil colors indicate about the content of different soils? How can organic matter be
efficiently separated from soil? What information do the remains of bugs and
snails provide to the archaeologist (glance at chpt. 6).

Anthropology 3        Final Study Guide         Dr. Gibson   

Chapters in Renfrew: 5, 8, 10, & 13

Chapters 5 & 13   History and Ethnohistory; Social Archaeology


Terms: settlement patterns, oral history/traditions, ethnohistoric, protohistoric, historic, ethnoarchaeology, paleography, epigraphy, centers, elite residences, ahau, ogam, holy well, turlough, baile, seisach.

People: John Koch, Walter Christaller, Elman Service, Lewis Binford, Ian Hodder, John Yellen, Tod Whitelaw, James Hill.

Concepts: language family, scale, polity, band, segmentary society (tribes), chiefdom, early states, empires, central place theory, Thiessen polygons, middle range theory, wealth, craft specialists, corporate labor, private property.

Languages: Celto-Iberian, Tartessian, Latin, Old Irish, Archaic Old Irish.

Writing systems: Ogam, Mayan hieroglyphs, Phoenecian/ Tartessian.

Case studies from lecture: Irish Chiefdoms and the emergence of private property (demesne land).

In the textbook: Ancient Ethnicity and Language, Space and Density in Hunter-Gatherer camps, Interpreting the Landscape of Early Wessex, Investigating Maya Territories, Social analysis at Moundville, Conflict and Warfare, Gender relations in ancient Peru, Five Points area of New York.

What kinds of data can be derived from the different categories of written records that were discussed? What was the context and application of written tests in early societies? What was its application in Mayan society? How did the translation of Mayan texts change our view of Mayan society?

What are the weaknesses of ethnohistoric and protohistoric sources, e.g.
what are some of the inherent biases? What has ethnoarchaeology demonstrated
about some traditional archaeological assumptions about the patterning of
material culture?

Social Archaeology: What kinds of
imprints do band societies, segmentary societies, and chiefdoms leave behind?
Pay close attention to the table on pg. 172. What are their social and economic
correlates? What do the Neolithic collective tombs of Europe
represent? What social changes can be detected in the changing prehistoric
landscape of Wessex? Does social status translate into cemeteries? What was the
relationship of Maya pyramids to the political system? What is the evidence for
Maya political relationships - of larger polities to smaller polities? What are
the economic correlates of complex societies? 
How did the Inkas transform the societies they conquered?

Case studies Chpt. 13: The social archaeology of Oaxaca (starting on pg. 499. Upper Mangrove Creek, Aust. Pg. 511.

Chapter 8 (pg. 341-345)

Film: Hopi pottery

Handout: Chinese Ceramics

Terms: adobe, sherd, vitrification, kiln, terracotta, earthenware, stoneware, greenware, porcelain, celedon, bone china, oxidizing atmosphere, reducing atmosphere, clay, kaolin clay, temper, slip, glaze, flux, ferric oxide (including limonite), calcium carbonate,
fabric, corrugation, incision, impressed decoration, vase, pitcher, jar, olla,
bowl, crucible, canteen, lamp, slow and fast wheel.

Chinese Dynasties and their pottery: Han, Tang, Song, Ming, Qing

Techniques of vessel construction: slab, paddle and anvil, coil, wheel, mold, pinching.

What was the earliest use of fired clay? What are the properties of good clay? What were the various techniques by which pre-industrial pottery was made? By which characteristics can we recognize these techniques? What distinguishes hand-made from wheel-made pottery? Why is porcelain white? How are black pots made? What were the conventional steps in
the making of a pot? Why might a pot crack or explode during manufacture or
firing? What were the techniques of decoration? Why glaze a pot? What are some
of the technical problems with glaze? How were colors and glazes achieved? Know
the effects on color of the different firing conditions. How were pots glazed?
What minerals produced the colors on glaze? What decorating techniques were
used on American Southwestern and Asian pottery? Is glass a ceramic? Be aware
in general outline of the history of Chinese ceramics, and the role that they
played in trade. Where did the blue of Ming Dynasty pottery come from? How was
the green color of celadon pottery achieved? What were the signature elite wares
of the Han, Tang, Ming, and Qing dynasties?

Chpt. 10   The recovery of religion - Visit the exhibit in the museum!

Film: Buried Secrets of the Bible

Terms: grapheme, ideogram, logogram

Case studies in class - Late Neolithic Irish Passage Graves, Israel of the Old Testament (Late Bronze Age. Iron Age Israel (the time of David and Saul)

Concepts: documentary hypothesis.

Scholars: Israel Finkelstein, William Dever.

Biblical archaeology: including the history of Biblical archaeology. Issues: the role played by the Bible in Biblical archaeology. Forces shaping the perspective of the Bible; the historicity of Moses and of the Exodus; the historicity of Solomon, David, and
Saul and their conflict with Israel. What are the problems in trying to resolve
historical questions with archaeological data? How do scholars judge the
credibility of statements in the Torah? 
Is the Bible a historical document? What were the practices of ancient

Sites: Megiddo, Jericho, Hazor

Case Studies from the text: Clues to Early Thought, Paleolithic Art, Maya Symbols of Power, Recognizing cult activity at Chavin, Sacrifice and Symbol in Mesoamerica, The World's Oldest Sanctuary.

Sites: Newgrange and Knowth in the Boyne Valley, the Dordogne region, the Maya.

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Online Resources: (list related websites as links)

History of Archaeology, lecture 1          

History of Archaeolgy, Lecture 2 

History of Archaeology, Lecture 3 

Dating Techniques

Dating at C-221

Archaeological Research Design and Survey    

Death of the Iceman


Remote Sensing in Archaeology        

Investigations at Ceren     

Environmental Reconstruction in Archaeology

  Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!

Abu Hureyra      

Early Animal Domestication and Agricultural Technology  

Stable Isotope Analysis

Zooarchaeology at Mount Sandel     

Ceramic Technology and Analysis 

Prehistoric Metallurgy

Ancient Celtic Writing Systems

Gaelic Late Medieval Territorial Orgamization in Munster

Maya Political Systems

Early Chinese States

Irish Tutelary Gods and Saints                                        

Irish Late Neolithic Passage Graves   

Welcome to Anthropology 3 


Dirt Lab Graph Examples

Ceramics Lab Graph Examples 

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