Prehistoric Archaeology Final Study Guide
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.
Only recovered from East African Sites – Hadar
Brain Size 400-440cc
3 to 3.5 tall
Earliest well-documented hominids
600-800cc brain, ave is 680
Eat Africa and further
Made Olduwan tools
Still long arms
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
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
Died 1.6 mya
9-13 years old
brain size 800 cc, 5’3″ tall
Identical body proportions to modern humans
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
Sima de los Huesos – 350-500,000 bp, cave bear bones and archaic humans, 1st purposeful burials
Siberia, Indonesia, Australia
Modern Humans have part of their DNA
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
Early Hominids killed by leopards and dragged up into tree.
Homo Erectus Food Gathering
Historic – Studies cultures of the recent past by means of a combination of written records and archaeological excavation.
Can include forensics, contract archaeology, medical anthropology.
-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.
-came from maritime laws, shipwrecks
Conducted for two reasons:
1) large scale information – assesses use of landscape/environment over time
2) locate sites for future excavation
-usually placed in a formal pattern on site.
-larger single (or combined) excavation unit
-size depends on project/field situation
-often created upon expansion of test pit
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
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.
– 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.
When people become food producers that changes everything.
domestication of plants and animals.
develop irrigation techniques
– 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.
Rice – Southeast Asia
Millet – Africa
Maize, Beans, Squash – Central America
Potatoes – Peru
Sunflower, Goosefoot, Maygrass, Little Barley – Midwest
– 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.
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)
Sites are small and thinly scattered across the Americas
Highly nomadic hunter-gathers adapted to the last of the Ice Age environment.
Eanna Precinct, Uruk – house of the date palms
Inanna – Lady of the date palms
World’s first monumental center.
– 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.
2 – embedded within a hierarchical settlement network
– Two headed human bulls held by heroic male
– Ram in the thicket
– Head Dresses
– Great Death Pit: gold, silver, lapis, copper, shell
– Elites, priesthoods and temples, administration, writing, trade, etc.