Archaeology: A Brief Introduction

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  • Edition: 11th
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 11/28/2011
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Method and Theory in Archaeology Archaeology: A Brief Introduction is an introduction to the fundamental principles of method and theory in archaeology, exposing students to archaeology as a career. The text begins by covering the goals of archaeology, and then moves on to consider the basic concepts of culture, time, and space, by discussing the finding and excavation of archaeological sites. By providing a distinct emphasis on the ethics behind archaeology, and how we should act as stewards of the finite records of the human past, Archaeology: A Brief Introduction continues to be a book with a truly international perspective, not simply focusing on North America or Europe. Teaching and Learning Experience Personalize Learning - MySearchLab delivers proven results in helping students succeed, provides engaging experiences that personalize learning, and comes from a trusted partner with educational expertise and a deep commitment to helping students and instructors achieve their goals. Improve Critical Thinking - Archaeology: A Brief Introduction's "Archaeology and You" chapter provides students with career advice in an era when archaeology is transitioning from predominantly academic to professional. Engage Students - Each chapter within Archaeology: A Brief Introduction highlights important finds that have shaped our archaeological perspective, and a global perspective that shows students that archaeology is the most global of all sciences, encompassing all of humanity. Support Instructors - Teaching your course just got easier! You can create a Customized Text or use our Instructor's Manual, Electronic "MyTest" Test Bank or PowerPoint Presentation Slides. Plus, Archaeology: A Brief Introduction is ideal for the introductory archaeology classroom, as it is designed for complete beginners, keeping technical jargon to a minimum without sacrificing scholarship. Note: MySearchLab does not come packaged with this text. To purchase MySearchLab, please order the ISBN listed below; 0205245188 / 9780205245185 Archaeology: A Brief Introduction & MySearchLab -- Access Card Package consists of: 0205240828 / 9780205240821 Archaeology: A Brief Introduction 0205699421 / 9780205699421 MySearchLab -- Access Card

Author Biography

In This Section:


I. Author Bio

II. Author Letter



I. Author Bio


Brian Fagan is a leading archaeological writer and internationally recognized authority on world prehistory. He studied archaeology and anthropology at Pembroke College and Cambridge University. He then spent seven years in sub-Saharan Africa working in museums, monument conservation, and excavating early farming sites in Zambia and East Africa. He was a pioneer of multidisciplinary African history in the 1960s. From 1967 to 2003, he was professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he specialized in lecturing and writing about archaeology to wide audiences. He is now Emeritus Professor of Anthropology.


Brian Fagan has written six best-selling textbooks (all published by Prentice Hall): Ancient Lives: An Introduction to Archaeology and Prehistory; In the Beginning, Archaeology: A Brief Introduction; World Prehistory; Ancient Civilizations (with Chris Scarre); and this volume–which are used around the world. His general books include The Rape of the Nile, a classic history of Egyptology; The Adventure of Archaeology Time Detectives; Ancient North America; The Little Ice Age; Before California: An Archaeologist Looks at Our Earliest Inhabitants; and The Long Summer. He was also General Editor of the Oxford Companion to Archaeology. In addition, he has published several scholarly monographs on African archaeology and numerous specialized articles in national and international journals. An expert on multimedia teaching, he has received the Society for American Archaeology's first Public Education Award for his indefatigable efforts on behalf of archaeology and education.


Brian Fagan's other interests include bicycling, sailing, kayaking, and good food. He is married and lives in Santa Barbara with his wife and daughter, four cats (who supervise his writing), and last but not least, a minimum of four rabbits.



II. Author Letter


Dear Colleague:


I became an archaeologist by accident, in large part because of the stories told by my very first university instructor, Miles Burkitt. Miles was an institution at Cambridge University where I studied archaeology. His lectures were long on artifacts and short on sophistication. But he was a consummate storyteller—about fellow archaeologists and copying Stone Age cave art with the legendary French prehistorian Abbé Breul before World War I, among other things. He taught me that storytelling is central to good teaching.


I started teaching introductory archaeology at the University of California - Santa Barbara in 1967, to an audience of 300 students. Finding no suitable textbooks, I ended up writing Archaeology: A Brief Introduction; a short account of the fundamental principles of method and theory in archaeology, which exposes students to archaeology as a career. To my delight, it has been widely used in many colleges and universities as a first introduction to a complex subject that has an important role to play in today’s world. I’m proud that highly respected archaeologists first encountered archaeology through its pages!


Archaeology is a straightforward journey through the world of archaeology, which covers the basics--I mean the basics. Its chapters answer fundamental questions. How do we find sites, excavate them, and analyze their finds? How do we date the past? How do we study ancient landscapes and settlement patterns? What about gender in prehistory and the study of ethnicity? Are there career prospects in archaeology? It provides beginners with a short overview of archaeology, either a one-shot introduction to the subject as part of general education, or a basis for taking additional courses later on.


This new eleventh edition draws on the success of earlier editions, and encouragement from users and reviewers, as well as students. The basic approach is unchanged: produce a simple narrative of method and theory in archaeology, and of its importance in the contemporary world for beginners. I’ve updated examples throughout, added a chapter on Managing the Past that covers cultural resource management and public archaeology, and brought in some exciting new discoveries, such as the Göbekli carvings in Turkey and the Lords of Sicán from coastal Peru. The illustrations have been completely refreshed and revised for this edition. Otherwise, this updated and improved edition continues a successful formula that has introduced tens of thousands of students to the fascinating world of archaeology. Long may it continue to do so!


Please do let me know what you think of the new eleventh edition of Archaeology. If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions about the book, please do not hesitate to send me an e-mail: brian@brianfagan.com .


I look forward to hearing from you.


Best regards,


Brian Fagan


Professor Emeritus

University of California—Santa Barbara


Table of Contents







Chapter 1: Fossils, Cities, and Civilizations: The Birth of a Science    
Chapter 2: Introducing Archaeology and Prehistory    
Chapter 3: Culture and Context    
Chapter 4: Explaining the Past    
Chapter 5: Space and Time    
Chapter 6: They Sought It Here, They Sought It There: Finding Archaeological Sites    
Chapter 7: Excavation    
Chapter 8: Archaeological Classification and Ancient Technologies    
Chapter 9: The Present and the Past    
Chapter 10: Ancient Climate and Environment    
Chapter 11: Come Tell Me How You Lived    
Chapter 12: Settlement and Landscape    
Chapter 13: The Archaeology of People    
Chapter 14: Managing the Past    
Chapter 15: So You Want to Become an Archaeologist?    



Author’s Note     
About the Author    

Chapter 1 : Fossils, Cities, and Civilizations: The Birth of a Science    
What Is Archaeology?    
Discovery  Tutankhamun’s Tomb, Egypt, 1922   
The Beginnings of Archaeology   
The Three Ages and the Antiquity of Humankind    
The Discovery of the Ancient Civilizations   
The Ancient Egyptians    
The Assyrians and Sumerians    
Troy and Mycenae    
Early American Archaeology    
The “Moundbuilders”    
Maya Civilization    
Southwestern Archaeology and the Direct Historical Approach    
Diversity, Diffusion, and Human Progress    
“From Them to Us”: Unilinear Evolution   
Diffusionism: How Did Civilization Spread?    
The Development of Modern Scientific Archaeology    
Scientific Excavation    
Archaeology and Ecology    
Scientific Methods    
“From Them to Us”: Contemporary Archaeological Theory   
Ecological/Evolutionary Approaches    
Historical Materialist Approaches    
Questions for Discussion      

Chapter 2: Introducing Archaeology and Prehistory   
The Tourist, the Collector, and the Archaeologist   
Discovery  An Anglo-Saxon Ship Burial at Sutton Hoo, England, 1939    
Who Needs and Owns the Past?    
What Do Archaeologists Do?    
Anthropology, Archaeology, and History    
Archaeologists on the Job    
Many Sites, Many Archaeologists    
Why Does Archaeology Matter?   
Mysteries of the Past    
A Sideline: Pseudoarchaeology    
Archaeology and Human Diversity    
Archaeology as a Political Tool    
Archaeology and Economic Development    
The Irresistible Lure of the Past   
The Prehistory of Humankind According to Archaeologists    
Early Prehistory    
The Origins and Spread of Modern Humans    
The Origins of Food Production    
The Origins of States (Civilizations)    
European Expansion    
Questions for Discussion

Chapter 3: Culture and Context    
Human Culture    
Discovery  The Lords of Sicán, Peru, A.D. 900—1100    
Cultural Systems    
Culture Change    
The Goals of Archaeology    
Constructing Culture History    
Reconstructing Ancient Lifeways    
Explaining Cultural and Social Change    
Preserving the Archaeological Record    
The Archaeological Record    
Archaeological Sites    
Artifacts, Features, and Ecofacts    
Questions for Discussion

Chapter 4: Explaining the Past   
Interpretation of Culture History    
Inevitable Variation   
Noncultural Models    
Genetics and DNA    
Ecological/Environmental (Processual) Archaeology    
Systems and Cultural Ecology    
Multilinear Cultural Evolution    
Historical Materialist Approaches   
Cognitive-Processual Archaeology    
Archaeological Theory Today and Tomorrow: “Processual Plus”    
Discovery  Chinese commander Zheng He visits East Africa in 1415, or does he?
Multidisciplinary Perspectives   
Alternative Histories    
DNA Studies    
Ecology and Evolutionary Theory    
Understanding the Role of the Human Mind    
External and Internal Constraints   
A General Theoretical Framework?    
Questions for Discussion  

Chapter 5: Space and Time    
The Law of Association    
Assemblages and Subassemblages    
Linear and Cyclical Time    
Relative Chronology    
The Law of Superposition    
Artifacts and Relative Chronology    
Absolute Chronology    
Historical Records and Objects of Known Age    
Tree-Ring Dating (Dendrochronology)    
Chrometric Chronology    
Radiocarbon Dating    
Obsidian Hydration    
Luminescence Dating    
Electronic Spin Resonance    
Uranium Series Dating    
Potassium-Argon Dating    
Fission Track Dating   
Discovery  Eruption at Akrotiri, Greece, 1967    
Questions for Discussion  

Chapter 6: They Sought It Here, They Sought It There: Finding Archaeological Sites    
The Process of Archaeological Research    
Discovery  The Sepulcher of the Maya Lord Pacal, Palenque, Mexico, 1949    
Design and Formulation    
Data Acquisition    
Processing and Analysis    
Stages of Archaeological Fieldwork    
Accidental Discovery    
Archaeological Survey    
Sampling and Archaeological Survey    
Remote Sensing    
Aerial Photography    
Aircraft and Satellite Imagery    
Recording Archaeological Sites    
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)    
Assessing Archaeological Sites    
Surface Collection    
Subsurface Detection Systems    
Questions for Discussion

Chapter 7: Excavation    
Planned Excavation: Research Design    
Discovery  The Princess of Khok Phanom Di, Thailand, 1984    
Types of Excavation    
Site Testing
The Process of Dissection   
Vertical Excavation   
Area, or Horizontal, Excavation    
Digging, Tools, and People    
Stratigraphic Observation    
Excavation Problems    
Open Campsites and Villages   
Caves and Rockshelters    
Mound Sites   
Earthworks and Forts    
Shell Middens    
Ceremonial and Other Specialist Sites   
Burials and Cemeteries    
Reburial and Repatriation    
Questions for Discussion  

Chapter 8: Archaeological Classification and Ancient Technologies    
Back from the Field    
Classification and Taxonomy    
Discovery   Exotic Islanders: Homo floresiensis
Archaeological Types    
The Concept of Types    
Attributes and Types of Types    
What Do Assemblages and Artifact Patternings Mean?    
Units of Ordering    
Components and Phases   
Larger Archaeological Units   
Ancient Technologies    
Metals and Metallurgy   
Bone, Wood, Basketry, and Textiles    
Questions for Discussion    

Chapter 9: The Present and the Past   
Discovery  Ancient Pacific Navigation    
The Archaeological Record Again    
Site-Formation Processes    
Favorable Preservation Conditions   
Middle-Range Theory and the Archaeological Record    
The Living Past    
Ethnographic Analogy    
Living Archaeology (Ethnoarchaeology)   
The !Kung San    
Maya Metates    
Nunamiut Eskimos    
Tucson, Arizona: Modern Material Culture and Garbage    
Experimental Archaeology   
Questions for Discussion  

Chapter 10: Ancient Climate and Environment    
Discovery Moche Human Sacrifice and El Niño, Huaca de la Luna, Peru, Sixth to Seventh Century A.D.    
Short-Term and Long-Term Climatic Change    
Long-Term Climatic Change: The Great Ice Age    
Deep-Sea Cores and Ice Cores    
The Pleistocene Framework    
Pollen Analysis   
Short-Term Climatic Change: The Holocene    
Centuries-Long Changes: The Younger Dryas and the Black Sea    
Short-Term Climatic Change: El Niño    
The Moche Civilization    
Tree Rings: Studying Southwestern Drought   
Questions for Discussion   

Chapter 11: Come Tell Me How You Lived    
Evidence for Subsistence    
Ancient Diet    
Discovery  The Gobekli Tepe Carvings, Turkey, 1994    
Animal Bones    
Faunal Analysis (Zooarchaeology)    
Comparing Bone Assemblages    
Species Abundance and Cultural Change    
Game Animals   
Domesticated Animals    
Ancient Butchery    
Plant Remains    
Birds, Fish, and Mollusks    
Rock Art    
Questions for Discussion    

Chapter 12: Settlement and Landscape    
Settlement Patterns    
Discovery  Households at Marki, Cyprus, c. 2200 B.C.   
Distribution of Communities    
Geographic Information Systems and Roman Wroxeter, England    
The Archaeology of Landscapes    
Sacred Landscapes: Mirrors of the Intangible    
Maeshowe and the Stones of Stenness    
Questions for Discussion  

Chapter 13: The Archaeology of People    
Studying the Deceased: Bioarchaeology    
Sex and Age    
Malnutrition, Stress, and Work-Related Injuries    
Discovery  The Ice Man of the Alps, c. 2400 B.C.    
Strontium and Peoples’ Lives    
Social Ranking   
Ethnicity and Social Inequality    
The Engendered Past    
Wider Society: Prestate and State Societies    
Interaction: Trade and Exchange    
Types of Trade    
Studying Ancient Trade: Sourcing    
Long-Distance Trade and the Uluburun Ship    
Interactions: Religious Beliefs    
Studying Religion and Ideology    
Questions for Discussion

Chapter 14: Managing the Past    
Legislating the Past    
Discovery  African-American Burial Ground, New York City, 1991    
Laws  Some Cultural-Resource-Management Legislation in the United States, 1960 onward    
What Is Protected?    
Assessment, Mitigation, and Compliance    
Phase 1: Identification and Preliminary Assessment    
Phase 2: Assessing Significance    
Phase 3: Management Plans and Mitigation    
Management versus Research    
Strategies of CRM Research    
Management Challenges   
Issues of Quality    
The Issue of Site Records    
The Issue of Curation    
The Issue of Publication and Dissemination    
Native Americans and CRM    
Public Archaeology    
Archaeological Tourism    
Questions for Discussion   

Chapter 15: So You Want to Become an Archaeologist?    
Archaeology as a Profession    
Deciding to Become an Archaeologist    
Gaining Fieldwork Experience    
Career Opportunities 
Academic Qualifications and Graduate School    
Thoughts on Not Becoming a Professional Archaeologist    
Our Responsibilities to the Past    
A Simple Code of Archaeological Ethics for All    

Sites and Cultures Mentioned in the Text    
Glossary of Technical Terms    
Guide to Further Reading    
Photo Credits    

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