Archaeological Laboratory Analysis (3) Scientific laboratory methods used in the analysis of ceramic and lithic artifacts.
ANTH 426W Archaeological Laboratory Analysis (3)
This course, Archaeological Laboratory Analysis, employs experiential learning to teach students how to ask and answer archaeological questions using real data. While students learn the fundamentals of interpretation in other courses using already processed computer (and internet) assembled data sets, this is not how archaeological data are analyzed. Archaeological data emerge from the ground covered with dirt and the analyst must learn how to identify and measure their important attributes, and interpret what they mean. This class will provide a hands-on learning experience where students learn how to examine and use physical remains to reconstruct and interpret human behavior.
Students in the Anthropology program currently learn this critical step on an ad hoc basis by working with faculty on individual research projects. This approach, while effective, is neither systematic nor comprehensive. This is a course on analytical systematics. It provides students with an introduction to problem formulation, artifact processing, artifact cataloging, attribute identification, artifact classification, analysis, data illustration and photography. At the same time, students will be introduced to two separate and distinct approaches to interpretation: 1) morphological/diacritical analysis, and 2) direct experimentation and replication.
Students will be graded on the completion of nine laboratory exercises. These exercises will require that students identify the research question being addresses, the theoretical assumptions used in the analysis, the data sample, the analytical method(s) employed, and the conclusions reached. The exercises will also request that students identify personal insights and difficulties encountered during the analysis.
This course fills a vital position in training undergraduate majors by providing them with practical training in research design and data analysis. It also provides the logical link between our general courses in prehistory, our courses on archaeological theory, and our method courses on field methods of data recovery. All of these courses intersect in the archaeological laboratory where data interpretations are made and new information about the past takes shape. In addition to contributing to both the BA and BS undergraduate majors and minors, this course will also provide a framework for training graduate students who enter the program with minimal field and laboratory training in archaeology.
Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.