Prehistoric Archaeology Final Study Guide

Must be bipedal!
A fossil form that played some genetic role in our evolution and can be our direct ancestor or cousin.
The term is based upon both evidence from the fossil record and comparisons between modern humans and our closest relations…the apes.

Australopithicus afarensis (Lucy)
Circa 4 – 3 mya
Only recovered from East African Sites – Hadar
Brain Size 400-440cc
3 to 3.5 tall
Earliest well-documented hominids

Homo habilis
“Handy Man”
2.2-1.6 mya
600-800cc brain, ave is 680
Eat Africa and further
Made Olduwan tools
Still long arms

radiocarbon dating
Based on radioactive isotope of Carbon (C14)
Carbon (C14) decays into Nitrogen
Half-life of 5,730 years
Must be organic material
Date back to 50,000 years ago
New technique, accelerator mass spectrometry, can date back 70,000 years ago

Homo erectus
“Upright Man”
1.6 mya to around 300,000 years ago
Brain size 1,000 cc
First to leave Africa (ignoring new claims)
Africa, Asia, Europe
Acheulian hand axe

WT 15000 (Turkana/Nariolotome boy) Site
East Africa Lake
Died 1.6 mya
9-13 years old
brain size 800 cc, 5’3″ tall
primitive skull
Identical body proportions to modern humans

Zhoukoudian (Dragon Bone Cave) Site
Cave site in China
Evidence for controlled use of fire
Deposits ranging from 700,000 – 200,000 years ago
Only two teeth are surviving from what was found before WWII

Dmanisi Site
1.8 mya; Eastern Europe. Homo erectus older male with one tooth; means he required assistance for food; social organization and relationship; tools also found

Atapuerca Sites
Gran Dolina – 800,000 bp or older deposits skeletons and stone tools, many animal species and evidence of cannibalism.
Sima de los Huesos – 350-500,000 bp, cave bear bones and archaic humans, 1st purposeful burials

Lascaux Cave Site
France. Most important collection of Upper Paleolithic art in the world. Many paintings of a variety of animals.

Chauvet Cave Site
France. Painted Red dots….prints made with palms of right hands. Paintings of rhinoceroses, lions and bears.

New DNA Evidence – Neanderthal; Denisovans
Latest findings…a third new genetic ancient population
Siberia, Indonesia, Australia
Modern Humans have part of their DNA
800,000 bp

Olduwan pebble-choppers
Sharp edged cobblers. created by knocking flakes of stones.

Acheulian hand axe
Discovered in France. Circa 1.4 to 300,000 years ago by Homo Erectus.

Mousterian tools
Made by Neandertals.
Symmetric, regular flakes, using sophisticated techniques.
Diverse tool kit including side scrapers, points, and denticulates.
Hafting wooden handle to stone – HUNTING
Levallois technique involves 3 steps

Hadar Site
Ethiopia, Key place for finding earliest humans. Lucy

Laetoli Site
Tanzania, Conclusive Evidence of our first steps.

Olduvai Site
Serengeti Plain. Leakys began excavation. Olduwan pebble chopers. Trail of biological and behavioral evolution

Schoningen Site
Germany. Spear site and many animal bones found

Klasies River Mouth Caves Site
Very South Africa. One of the longest continuous sequences of human habitation in the world. 120,000 ya earliest burials of anatomically correct humans. Evidence of cannibalism.

Dolni Vestonice Site
Czech Republic. Mammoth hunters in Eastern Europe. Mammoth bone structures or huts. Older woman burial with clay art.

Lake Mungo Site
Austrailia. The spread of Homo sapiens sapiens. Oldest example of cremation.

Monte Verde Site
Chile, occupations includes wooden foundations, hearths, mammoth hide fragments. Radio carbon dates from 14,800 – 13,500 bp!

Kennewick Man Site
Washington. One of the earliest human skeletons in the new world. Stone projectile point in pelvis. Intentionally placed in a grave. Closet DNA match to original Japanese-Asians.

Vedbaek Site
Denmark. Mother and infant son on swan wing.

Carrier Mills Site
Illinois, Black earth middens.

‘Ain Mallaha Site
Jordan near Lake Huleh, Levant. Natufians. dated to 12,00 bp, the remains of an elderly human and a four to five month old puppy were found buried together,

Gobekli Tepe Site
Turkey. Hilltop sanctuary. Oldest human made Stone structure. Series of shrines or centers associated with large stone architecture and art.

Abu Hureyra Site
Syria. largest early post-glacial communities. Early farmers and hunter gathers. Farming and herding. Tell mound found when new dam was built.

Jericho Site
Israel. One of the oldest continuously inhabited places on earth…over 20 successive settlements. Plastered and painted skull. Circular dwellings were built of clay and straw.

Catalhoyuk Site
Central Turkey. First City.

Mehrgarh Site
Kachi Plain, South Asia. Anthromorphic figurines.Ceramic Vessels used. Melting copper as well. Drill bits and bow drill.

Ban-po-ts’un Site
China. Village with over 100 houses (many subterranean) surrounded by a defensive and drainage ditch. Grew hemp, spindle whorls for making thread.

Khok Phanom Di Site
Thailand. Documentation of spread of rice to Southeast Asia. Mortuary Rituals.

Guila Naquitz Cave Site
Mexico. Preceramic seasonal campsite. Small overhang. “white cliff”

Tehuacan Site
Mexico. Evolution of early Maize. Sceheduled seasonal movements for game and food.

Guitarrero Cave Site
Andes Mountains. Near Chile. Origins of domestication of plants. Twining or finger weaving. Ate tubers and lima beans.

Swartkrans Site
South Africa
Early Hominids killed by leopards and dragged up into tree.

Kalambo Falls/Olorgesailie Site
East Africa
Homo Erectus Food Gathering

Pincevent Site
Reindeer hunters

Prehistoric – Studies past cultures through material remains.
Historic – Studies cultures of the recent past by means of a combination of written records and archaeological excavation.

Contract Archaeology (CRM)
Cultural Resources Management. Booming field right now. Involved in laws with regard to environmental impact and preservation. Crosses the boundaries of salvage and research archaeology investigations.

Applied Anthropology
Utilizes the findings of cultural, archaeological, linguistic and biological studies to solve practical problems affecting health, education, security and prosperity of human beings in many cultural settings.

Can include forensics, contract archaeology, medical anthropology.

Explanatory-Processual Period
1960-now. Everything changes. Lewis Binford was the founder of explanatory (processual) archaeology.

Culture History
Learned, socially acquired traditions of thoughts and behavior.

Jorvik Center Site
1970 York, England
-Remains of part of the Viking-Age city trading center
-Recreated the village to make a small museum, used skulls to recreate faces, language, smell, etc.

Humanly made or modified portable objects.

Organic and environmental remains or other unmodified materials that result from human activity.

Traces of human activity on the landscape that cannot be moved or disturbed without losing the meaning.

The accumulation of artifacts and/or ecofacts, representing a place where people lived or carried out certain activities.

Includes information about provenience (location, matrix, and association) as well as understanding of formation processes.

Salvage Archaeology
-Accidental disclosures (land and sea)
-came from maritime laws, shipwrecks

Surface Survey
Basic technique, often a pedestrian survey.
Conducted for two reasons:
1) large scale information – assesses use of landscape/environment over time
2) locate sites for future excavation

Datum Point
A fixed point on the landscape that is THE reference point for all locations used at your site.

Grid System
Network of horizontal squares placed on the site’s surface to aid in location control.

Stratigraphy (strata)
The analysis of the distinct cultural and geological/soil layers at sites.

test pits
-often done first to find out nature of soil & deposits (typically 3’x3′)
-usually placed in a formal pattern on site.

block excavation
-used to see village arrangements
-larger single (or combined) excavation unit
-size depends on project/field situation
-often created upon expansion of test pit

Carrier Mills Site
A Middle Archaic settlement in southern Illinois. Black Earth site is here (distinct black middens). Grave goods are placed with the dead.

Hopewell Site
Prehistoric artisans and mound builders in Ohio known for trade and mound building.

Snaketown Site
A Hohokam Community in Arizona, had pithouse villages and ball courts.

Draper Site
A late prehistoric Iroquoian village in Ontario known for longhouses where multiple families lived inside.

Cahokia Site
The largest prehistoric community north of Mexico in Illinois. Monks Mound is located here and is the largest prehistoric structure in the US. Monumental Architecture.

Moundville Site
A large civic ceremonial center located on a bluff overlooking the Black Warrior River in Alabama. Grave Offerings. Rich burials with non-local materials.

Vedbaek Site
Prehistoric communities in Mesolithic Denmark (near current Copenhagen) known for more permanent settlements and the dead began to be buried in cemeteries. Mother with infant son on swan wing.

Poverty Point Site
Ancient earthworks in northeastern Louisiana located on Macon Ridge in the floodplain of the Mississippi River. The main complex is a set of six concentric ridges that form a semicircle.

Mound City Site
A Hopewell burial mound complex at Mound City, Ohio

Chaco Canyon Site
A prehistoric regional center in the four corners region known for long distance exchange. New Mexico. Ancestral Pueblo.

Ozette Site
A whaling community on the coast of Washington.

Iceman Site
In the high Alps between Italy and Austria. Preserved in ice and had a substantial amount of gear with him. Wounds and an arrow in his back.

Stonehenge Site
A temple to the sun on England’s Salisbury Plain.

Tollund Man Site
The head of a man from Denmark scrificially executed and put in a bog.

Franchiti Cave Site
Greece. cave on the Mediterranean. Bones of fish, domesticated plants.

Charavines Site
Lakeside Village in France.

Knossos Site
The mythical halls of the Minotaur on the island of Crete.

Mycenae Site
Fortress of the warrior-kings of Bronze Age Greece.

Borum Shoj Site
A Bronze Age tomb in Denmark

Maiden Castle Site
Dorset, England. Hill forts. Remains from the Neolithic through the Roman Period.

Varna Site
Golden Burials on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria.

Vix Site
A princess burial from the Iron Age, France.

The study of prehistoric use of plants. The study of plant remains from archaeological sites.

Childe’s & Redman’s 5 Primary Characteristics of State Development
1 – Cities – dense, nucleated demographic concentrations (one capital ruling a territory)
2 – Full-time labor specialization
3 – State organization, based on territorial residence rather than kin connections
4 – Class stratification – the presence of a privileged ruling stratum
5 – Concentration of surplus

Origins of Agriculture World-Wide
Old World (Near East) 10,000 bp
New World (Mexico) 9,000 bp
North America (Mississippi Valley) 5-4,000 bp

Similar Types of Plants – Most are different kinds of grasses all descended from wheat, they grow fast and have lots of seeds.

Similar in Lifestyle Characteristics – weedy or weed-like, grow quickly (one year), produce lots of seeds, adapted to disturbed environments, lots of sun and nutrients.

Broad Spectrum Evolution
– In many areas humans began to shift their focus from a few preferred resources to using many different foodstuffs, some not as easy to ‘catch’ or process…or not as yummy. Out of this comes corn, wheat, barley, goats, pigs.
– Territories began to shrink. Not only did the people to environment shift but so did the people to people aspect. This can been seen in the dramtic increase in more diverse STYLES of artifacts, lifestyles (housing, etc.), languages. Styles may have developed to show personal identity, status, markers of roles in groups, identify you vs. me.
– Not only is there an increase in artifact styles, with an increase in population & shrinking territories there are also changes in the different tools made for different tasks.
– Can trade, but just can’t move and migrate.

Explosion of Cultural Evolution with the Emergence of Modern Humans
Cave paintings, art, symbolism
When people become food producers that changes everything.
domestication of plants and animals.
formal dwellings
develop pottery
develop irrigation techniques

The World of the Last Ice Age (cave paintings; art; symbolism)
There are several world wide patterns:
– Slow but steady growth in population which occurs across the globe from the old world to the new world.
– These populations are foragers.
When you draw upon you local environment for all resources from food to shelter any increase in population will affect the balance…the adaptation…that humans have with the environment.

Impact of Glaciers – Peopling of the New World
At the height of glaciations sea-levels are lowered 13,500 to 10,000 years ago. This exposes an area known as Beringia, linking Siberia and Alaska. Paleoindians could have traveled over land, or could have rafted around the coastline. Probably both. There is eveidence of the same culture up and down the coast of the Americas at the same time…this indicates they did not “walk.” Possible that humans were here by 18,000 bp.

First Plants Domesticated as Crops and Locations
Wheat and Barley – Near East
Rice – Southeast Asia
Millet – Africa
Maize, Beans, Squash – Central America
Potatoes – Peru
Sunflower, Goosefoot, Maygrass, Little Barley – Midwest

The Natufians
Culture to make the first critical steps toward plant domestication. These people lived in small semi-sedentary communities in the Near East (Levant) between 12-10,000 bp. Had domesticated dogs.

Spread of Early Farming Communities
– Settled village life ranging from several related families to perhaps several hundred people.
– Domestic architecture with year round formal dwellings created
– Small fields of wheat and barley (and other crops) with flocks of sheep and goats (dry land farming)
– Some have what appear to be small platforms (temples?) in the center of these communities.

Egypt – Importance of the Nile
Land of the floodplain is extremely fertile, strong floods brought life to the narrow valley. The Nile can be used for irrigation to areas farther away. Both can then support crops such a legumes, barley, figs, reeds, papyrus. Also supports animals such as sheep, goats, and cattle. Provided a travel route for trading.

Egypt – Date for Origins of Civilization
At the end of the ice age rain fall patterns began to change.

10,000-8,000 – Nomadic hunters and foragers roamed and camp out along the Nile. Began to bury dead in cemeteries close to Nile. Domesticated crops (plants/animals) came in from near east. Began to settle down along flood plain as small communities of farmers.

5,500 – Villages grew and trade became important, control of trade and resources along nile. High status families emerged becoming leaders of independent territories.

5,000 – Egypt became divided into to major states – Upper and lower Ruler, Narmer from the South, conquered the north and Egypt became one large state society.

Distinctive Social Pattern Emerges
Social elites and commoners
Non-elites could move up depending on skill – such as imhotep
Pharaohs were seen as earthly manifestations of gods…they kept maat (world order amid chaos)

Beringia, linking Siberia and Alaska during last ice age.

Clovis Culture
Highlighted by a very distinctive and beautiful stone tool technology: Clovis fluted spearpoints.
Sites are small and thinly scattered across the Americas
Highly nomadic hunter-gathers adapted to the last of the Ice Age environment.

Meadowcroft Rockshelter Site
Boarder of Ohio and PA, south of Pittsburgh. Deep deposits with numerous stratified occupations. Oldest evidence of human habitation in North America. Over 50 radio carbon dates spanning from 30,000 bp. Earliest dates around 19,000 bp. Clovis levels and traces of human occupation below these levels.

Big fierce animals. The last ice age change was apparently much more rapid and much more severe they could not survive like other interglacial periods. There was a rapid warmup within 70-100 years. Carnivores died before their prey.

Ubaid Culture
Organized along the lines of a chiefdom. Characterized by a distinctive type of pottery, this culture originated in ancient Iraq about 8,000 bp. The first larger towns emerge and social stratification is an important aspect of this development. Later develop irrigation techniques.

Uruk Culture
6-5,000 bp. First large cities and true states emerge. Mixture of achieved and inherited status.
Eanna Precinct, Uruk – house of the date palms
Inanna – Lady of the date palms
World’s first monumental center.

Babylon Site
Temple complexes were identified with gods and goddesses from whom they drew power and who were said to reside in them.

Tell Halaf Site
Syria, Pottery bowl developed for storage and cooking of grains.

Nimrud Site
Iraq. relief sculptures, and more recently, the tombs of the three queens with magnificent jewelry are important finds, enormous defensive walls.

Innovation of Pottery, metal, written language, etc.
Pottery appears shortly after agriculture develops. Natufians – Bowls developed for storage and cooking of grains. Ubaid Culture develops irrigation techniques and first use of metal for ornaments of elites and tools. copper, bronze, gold. They have unique pottery. Trade became important and cargo ownership was typically marked from a carved stone — a seal. Out of this was born the first notation system — written language. They had clay tablets with writing and counting system.

Manis Site
Washington, pre-clovis mastadon hunting. Bone projectiles used to kill mastadon.

Le Tuc d’Audoubert Cave Site
France, 14,000 year old bull and cow bison mud sculpture on rock. Foot prints in muddy floor.

Lindenmeier Site
Colorado. Folsom campsite dated to 8,600 bc. more than 600 projectile points, 15,000 animal bones.

Burning Tree Mastodon
Mastodon found in the Burning Tree Golf Course, Ohio. Had stomach contents in tact.

Tell Qaramel Site
Syria, residents of these small round houses ate wild wheat about 10,200 years ago. Mint and Sage were found imprinted in mud, as well as spring wild flowers.

Involves the first true “political” office, that of the chief, a role that remains the same no matter who occupies the office of the chief.
– Usually along kinship lines
– Typically inherited status
-Can tell by burials that they aren’t earning it. Now kids and teens of families have elite burials.

Two Basic Elements of a City
1 – high concentration of people in a confined area
2 – embedded within a hierarchical settlement network

Ur Site
Royal tombs.
– Two headed human bulls held by heroic male
– Ram in the thicket
– Head Dresses
– Great Death Pit: gold, silver, lapis, copper, shell

Same Patterns emerging worldwide 5-4,000 bp
– Large populations based upon agriculture found new mechanisms to integrate those large numbers of peoples…
– Elites, priesthoods and temples, administration, writing, trade, etc.

Eridu Site
Early Ceremonial Center in Mesopotamia. Remains of large stepped temple mound.

Harappa and Mohenjo-daro Site
Indus Valley (Pakistan), Urbanism and the rise of civilization. The great Bath.

Hierakonpolis Site
Emergence of the Egyptian Civilzation. Narmer’s Stone. Cemetery.

Giza and Dynastic Egypt Site
Pyramids and Pharaohs. First Step pyramid

An-yang Site
A late Shang city in China. Sacrificial burials. Inscribed oracle bone. City Wall, palace.

Xianyang Site
China, Terracotta soldiers and the Qin dynasty

Angkor Site
Maritime Kingdoms in Southeast Asia

Jenne-jeno Site
Ancient urban center in West Africa. Flood plain of Niger River. Funerary urn.

Great Zimbabwe Site
An important trading center in south central Africa.

San Jose Mogote Site
A 3,500 year old community in Mexico’s Southern HIghlands. Carved stone of sacrificed captive.

San Lorenzo and LaVenta Site
The roots of Mesoamerica civilization on the coastal plain of southern Veracruz. Colossal carved head – The King.

El Mirador Site
Guatemala, Beginnings of Ancient Myan Civilization.Tigre pyramid complex.

Monte Alban Site
A hilltop city in the Valley of Oaxaca Mexico.

Loma de la Coyotera Site
Skull Rack…Monte Alban people sacked and burned the small town.

Teotihuacan Site
One of the World’s largest cities in AD 500. Mexico City Basin. Avenue of the Dead. Pyramid of the Moon and Pyramid of the Sun.

Tikal Site
Maya city in the rainforest of Guatemala. Tall temples…temple of the great jaguar. Monumental records of Stela 29. Long Count system

El Tajin Site
Mesoamerican ball game – a ritual game with symbolic and political importance.

Palenque Site
A classic center at the edge of the Maya lowlands. Temple of the inscriptions. Lord Pakal’s tomb. Jade Mask

Tula Site
Capital city of the Toltecs. North of modern Mexico City. Large carved Atlantean columns. Obsidian blades.

Chichen Itza Site
The most magnificent late Maya center in Yucatan. Cenote of Sacrifice. Puuc style architecture. Ball court. Temple of the warriors…carving of warriors arriving in canoes.

Tenochtitlan Site
The capital city of the Aztecs: the Venice of the new world.