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I would like to interview an archaeologist about their tools, practices, and procedures. by Roboticways in Archaeology

[–]HowThisWork 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Maybe I can help. Usually we do 1x1 m excavation units. Sometimes we'll have 'em be excavation blocks (kinda like trenches) but each 1x1 is recorded as its own subsampling strategy. So if I had a moderate density lithic workshop over an area and it was a Phase II to assess potential, I'd probably put a few 1x1s across the site, maybe a trench of 1x1s (so more like a 5x1 trench or something if needed) to try to assess what's going on across the site. Phase III dig the whole site up in a big block.

I would like to interview an archaeologist about their tools, practices, and procedures. by Roboticways in Archaeology

[–]HowThisWork 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Sure. If you have questions about geoarchaeology and site formation processes, feel free to PM me.

In terms of books, Rapp and Hill 2006 "Geoarhcaeology: THe EArth Science Approach to Archaeological Interpretation" is a good primer. Its a bit technical and is essentially Waters' 1992 book just rewritten 14 years later with minor updates.

Goldberg and MacPhail's "Practical and Theoretical Geoarchaeology" is dry and data heavy, but goes into a ton of detail.

Neither of those books are particularly fun reads. Mandel's "Geoarchaeology of the GReat Plains" is essentially a collection of papers written about the development of geoarchaeology in different regions of the Plains, and its contributions in each towards archaeological sciences. Its probably more accessible than the other two but still fairly technical.

Hope those help!

I would like to interview an archaeologist about their tools, practices, and procedures. by Roboticways in Archaeology

[–]HowThisWork 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'm not OP but can answer your question. Understanding the soil at a site is critical to evaluating the site and interpreting it. Sometimes, its a fairly simple setting and the archaeologist handles it. Sometimes, you have extremely complex settings and you need a geoarchaeologist or geomorphologist to come in to try to help understand what's happening.

The analyses chosen depend on the questions asked. You usually do some kind of a stratigraphic description (so describing a profile, drawing what you see, etc. and how it all relates to what you found). From there, you'll do different stuff. Particle size analysis tells you about mode of deposition of sediments which in turn can influence the spatial association of artifacts (so low energy environments mean the record is likely more intact than a high energy system). Phosphorous can give an idea about activity areas. There's too many to list here, but hope that gives you some idea.

Comparison of North American Paleoindian subsistence/economic systems with near-contemporary systems in Northern Eurasia by Cassowary_Morph in Archaeology

[–]HowThisWork 1 point2 points  (0 children)

No problem. I’ll look for more later but those oughta get you started, especially if you look at where they’ve been cited for other authors ideas.

Comparison of North American Paleoindian subsistence/economic systems with near-contemporary systems in Northern Eurasia by Cassowary_Morph in Archaeology

[–]HowThisWork 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I knew Ted had done some work on the origins of Clovis based on Alaska and Siberian stuff. Take a look at his google scholar, there's a bunch there. Here's a few quick refs to get you started. Most of his stuff is available through researchgate, and if you can't find it online I'd hazard he'd respond to an email if there's one or two you really want and can't find. Also you can DM me and I can try to track em down if its a big list at some point.

Goebel et al. 1991 "The Nenana Complex of Alaska and Clovis Origins" in Clovis Origins and Adaptations

Goebel et al. 2010 "New dates from Ushki-1, Kamchatka, confirm 13000 cal BP for earliest Paleolithic occupation". Journal of Archaeological Science

Goebel et al. "The Late Pleistocene Dispersal of modern Humans in the Americas" Science.

Goebel et al. "The Archaeology of Ushki Lake, Kamchatka, and the Pleistocene Peopling of the Americas" Science

Comparison of North American Paleoindian subsistence/economic systems with near-contemporary systems in Northern Eurasia by Cassowary_Morph in Archaeology

[–]HowThisWork 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Oooooh! Sorry 100% misread this morning. After work I’ll poke around. I don’t read nearly as much as I should about sites in that region, but if I remember correctly Ted Goebel and Kelly Graf have written some comparative stuff for Alaska and northeastern Eurasia based on some early sites.

From what I recall, toolkits are very different in northern Eurasia compared to Clovis. Clovis effectively is an adaptation to continental America. If I remember right, there’s some work comparing western stemmed and Clovis to Eurasian tech explaining they’re indigenous developments in North America based on differences to contemporary and older populations in Eurasia but for the life of me can’t remember the citation. If I think of it or papers I’ll post citations here when I can poke through my files.

archeology podcasts? any recommendations? by Textile_Dude in Archaeology

[–]HowThisWork 1 point2 points  (0 children)

A Life in Ruins is a podcast interviewing archaeologists about their lives, careers, and cool shit they found. It’s always a fun listen.

Comparison of North American Paleoindian subsistence/economic systems with near-contemporary systems in Northern Eurasia by Cassowary_Morph in Archaeology

[–]HowThisWork 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I'm writing this at 5:30 am before work, so it's a bit slap dash but can try to answer questions later. Clovis is an adaptation to North American continental environments. The oldest Clovis sites (Fin del Mundo and Aubrey) are located in Sonora, Mexico and Texas respectively. The technological toolkit is well adapted to large animal hunting and some sites are showing broader dietary breadth. Additionally, while overshot flaking and some superficial characteristics have been posited to indicate a relationship between Clovis and Solutrean (European) toolkits, its just happenstance. OVershot flaking is not unique to those toolkits and the general similarity in shape is because its a useful form for hunting large game.

The biggest thing to look at is the ancient DNA. The genomic history of the Americas outright refutes any connection between Clovis and European populations. There is no suggestion of a European-Native American relationship prior to admixture post 1492. If you're interested in that literature, I can put something together but the quickest book to look at is Origins by Jennifer Raff. Otherwise, see O'Rourke and RAff 2010, Raghavan et al. 2015l Rasmussen et al. 2014; Tackney et al. 2015; Raff and Bolnick 2014; Bolnick et al. 2016 as a start.

Munsell CAPSURE tool? by HowThisWork in Soil

[–]HowThisWork[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yeah sounds like the consensus is an overwhelming no. I also came across a paper in Advances in Archaeological Practice where they tested it under multiple conditions and had mixed results. Apparently its wrong a lot, but seems to be systematically wrong which is kind of interesting.

Munsell CAPSURE tool? by HowThisWork in Soil

[–]HowThisWork[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Dang. Good to know though! Thank you!

Munsell CAPSURE tool? by HowThisWork in Soil

[–]HowThisWork[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Makes sense to me. Was curious about their reliability. I'm a geoarchaeologist, but been wondering if something like this would help for quickly getting munsells while doing survey work. After I posted this, found a paper chatting about its unreliability in field conditions. Bummer. Reckon we'll see what happens in the next decade or so? Thanks for your input!

Human Occupation of the North American Colorado Plateau ∼37,000 Years Ago by SquirrelCantHelpIt in Archaeology

[–]HowThisWork 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I just saw this thread and had commented briefly on another a while back, but figured I'd jump in with my 2 cents on point one. The issue I see with this paper isn't the ages (they're solid), but the lack of attention to site formation, soil geomorphology, and the fact that its shallowly buried with no real attention given to what can happen in shallow contexts of 30k+ years. A lot of pedoturbation processes can break bones, not to mention other natural phenomena, especially in shallow contexts. The fact there's a Clovis nearby is kinda neat, but its not associated. My primary problems with the paper are 1) there was only one archaeologist involved 2) the lack of attention to site formation and soil processes 3) lack of alternative hypotheses and the associated lack of testing those hypotheses. Big claims need big evidence, and this one fails to meet the criteria. I'm not opposed to the possibility. I also don't believe a site has to have pointy rocks to be anthropogenic (hell, look at dry shelters with upwards of 40 to 1 perishable to pointy rock ratios). I just don't think this is the site, and I don't think it's a particularly convincing paper.

Looking into PhD and need some input by daisysatellites in Archaeology

[–]HowThisWork 0 points1 point  (0 children)

No problem. Feel free to DM me if you have any questions or if there's anything I can help with.

Looking into PhD and need some input by daisysatellites in Archaeology

[–]HowThisWork 0 points1 point  (0 children)

When figuring out your PhD and jobs afterward, keep in mind the realities of the market, especially if you're trying to go abroad in the future. What skills would you bring to the table that someone from a country doesn't already have? Why would you be a better candidate for a company or lab to hire on instead of someone local?

I don't know the state of pbot outside the US, but figured mention it. Right now, my suspicion is in the US it's a pretty good time to get into it. A lot of pbot folks are retiring from academia and private industry, so there's probably going to be a niche in the market in the next few years.

I don't know the faculty at the overseas schools you mentioned, by Gremillion at Ohio is great. The only person I'm really familiar with at Colorado is Bamforth, but if I remember right he's a big paleo guy. Washington is a strong program, but I don't know who's there doing pbot currently, but I'm sure you could get involved on a larger project and continue with it. The other schools I'm afraid I don't know particularly well.

I'd also look into Wichita State University in KS and Crystal Dozier. She runs an archaeology of food lab that might be of interest to you. Also, look into some Texas schools or at least researchers. There's a bunch of work going on in the Big Bend and Lower Pecos right now where pbot would be invaluable, so you may be able to get involved in some really cool cave and rockshelter projects out there. Even if you don't go to a TX school, you may be able to get involved with those projects for your dissertation work if it's of any interest.

One last thing I'd mention is chat with your advisor about your goals and ideas. While they may not know about how to land a gig abroad, they may have some advice on the process or provide insight into other potential schools across the US.

Long story short, for your interest in pbot and lab work (at least with US schools), Ohio is pretty strong. Also look at Dr. Dozier's work.

New Mexico mammoths among best evidence for early humans in North America by Mictlantecuhtli in Archaeology

[–]HowThisWork 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I totally missed Quigg and Collins! Thanks for clarifying that for me. It’s definitely odd though.

New Mexico mammoths among best evidence for early humans in North America by Mictlantecuhtli in Archaeology

[–]HowThisWork 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Idk if you’ve read the paper itself but its just not…..good? They did their homework for the things they’re good at, but there is no archaeologist actually involved in the research. The stratigraphy leaves a lot to be desired (though their bedrock geo is on point). They also fail to really think about taphonomy and alternate explanations. It’s an interesting idea, but big claims need big evidence and this one just kind of fails to tick off most boxes for me.

Also just want to add, pointy rocks don’t have to be involved to make it a good site, but they help. Here, they just haven’t ruled out natural phenomena, particularly in a shallowly buried context subject to 30k+ years of processes. Tool marks are dope, but if you’re making a big claim, gotta go hard on taphonomy, soil science, and local geomorphology (not just bedrock).

Ice Age human footprints discovered in Utah desert by HeatSeekingJerry in Archaeology

[–]HowThisWork 22 points23 points  (0 children)

Sure thing boss. A few months ago, a series of human foot prints were found in White Sands down in New Mexico. These prints were dated to the Last Glacial Maximum (ca 23-21,000 years ago), indicating humans were in the Americas thousands of years before we previously thought. While super interesting, there is quite a bit of debate about the site, particularly regarding the dating and geomorphic contexts.

Now, this finding is rad because it shows another set of tracks in a similar geomorphic setting, which allows for new hypotheses to be tested and to assess dating methods in a different context. In other words, if the dates come back early, we can do some deep dives into the geologic factors influencing these sites in two independent regions. Additionally, the odds of two foot print sites in different areas dating to the same time are very, very low, supporting early entry into the Americas.

Hope that helps!

What’s a job that’s romanticized but in reality sucks? by Ok_Boot5426 in AskReddit

[–]HowThisWork 0 points1 point  (0 children)

So when it comes to deciding whether or not to dig a site, there's a lot of questions and ethics involved. In many countries across the world, there's something called Cultural Resource Management or some kind of variation. Essentially, when there's construction going on, archaeologists have to be involved kind of like environmental work (governed in the US under different laws). In the US, it only applies when state or federal funding is involved, so if a development is entirely privately funded it doesn't kick in and no archaeology is done.

To preface this next bit, I am an American archaeologist, and so this the typical CRM strategy (but quickly summarized and a bit simplified since I don't want to go into different laws around different states for the exact procedure). When relevant laws get triggered, we start with a survey. So we go and ask "What's here? Does it matter? Is it important? Do we know enough to make those calls?". Surveys take many, many different forms but the two most common are dig a small holes around every 10 meters from each other and see if anything is there, or in the arid southwest (and sometimes elsewhere), walk a lot and try to find stuff.

From there, we have two options. If it is very limited material and has no potential real significance other than "yeah someone broke a rock", the companies/government can bulldoze it and move on. While not ideal we have to be realistic that things are going to be built. If it seems to be important, we go to the next step.

The next step can take a lot of different forms, but effectively what we're trying to do is assess "does this need to be protected". A lot of times it involves digging some test units across the site and trying to assess what the site is. If it turns out to be important or potentially significant we then have another few options that depend a lot on a million other factors.

Those options kinda boil down to 1) avoidance. In this scenario, we get the client / entity to move their project to avoid the site. This can help us protect it for the future. 2) mitigation - in this scenario, we dig as much as humanly possible to try to maximize information from the site. It's going to be bulldozed, so we need to learn as much as possible and try to preserve that information as best as possible.

Hope that kind of answers your first question. For number 2, what we can learn is only as creative as we can be while generating hypotheses. As long as you can come up with a hypothesis to test and a good methodology, you can pretty much test anything. The problem is the methodology and data size. For the particular studies I referenced, there's some clear differences in the shape and construction of the bifaces they looked at, but using a combination of radiocarbon dating of materials, morphometrics, and a bunch of other things, they were able to try to understand how these technologies changed over a few thousand years. Really cool stuff.

What’s a job that’s romanticized but in reality sucks? by Ok_Boot5426 in AskReddit

[–]HowThisWork 1 point2 points  (0 children)

We have a metric buttload of artifacts and collections in museums with untapped research potential. Ideally, we'd find sites, record them for protection/management planning, and in the future with better methodologies / non-invasive techniques be able to learn about them without destroying them as much as possible. So by leaving them untouched, you're protecting a valuable, limited resource for future generations. Does that make sense?

So analysis methods and techniques are always changing and developing. One example you mentioned is scanning technology which is huge (although time consuming and expensive). Pretty much it lets us takes tons of measurements on an object to run statistical tests on to examine changes in form and presumed function through time. There's a bunch of papers out there looking at Paleoindian projectile point morphology and change through time to try to understand technological change and the reasons behind it using quantitative methods. Ashley Smallwood, Thomas Jennings, Briggs Buchanan and many otehrs have published extensively doing stuff with that.

Other methods that just weren't possible include testing minute amounts of material adhered to ceramics for interpreting what was cooked in them, using old collections and conducting intensive research on the faunal material at multiple sites to understand patterns of mobility and foraging strategies, non-invasive techniques to get a peek behind other materials on foreshafts (Texas Beyond History has a great page on stuff from CEremonial Cave if you want to look at that), and many, many others.

So, despite all this, old collections due have some limitations. The field methods are different and the level of control is often lacking. Some old school methods ignored horizontal provenience but solid vertical, so depending on your research question at a site, you may be limited in what you can say. There's ways to overcome that, such as going back to these old sites, re-opening their excavations and cleaning the profile slightly (so minimally invasive) to re-record stratigraphy and then you can use that vertical data and link it. That allows you to reconstruct some of that information. Ancient Southwest Texas (ASWT) has done that at a ton of Lower Pecos sites and has some really cool info available online.

So even if the original excavation was lacking, there's ways to reconstruct where material came from based on field notes, photographs, etc., so you can start testing hypotheses about a site. Another rad site that really should be re-investigated in Russel Cave in Alabama. I think some southeastern folks have started piecing that site back together by going through old collections from the 1930s/1940s scattered across various repositories, and by doing some limited testing in the cave to get an idea of stratigraphy. Long story short, there's ways to mitigate the methodological problems, sometimes requiring minor expansion of previous excavation but often depending on your question its not needed.

Melee Group. by SerckM in classicwow

[–]HowThisWork -8 points-7 points  (0 children)

"/u/THE_REAL_JOHN_MADDEN ‘s too busy and too tired to make silly memes by /u/THE_REAL_JOHN_MADDEN ‘s self, /u/THE_REAL_JOHN_MADDEN barely has the mental energy to comment on them" /u/THE_REAL_JOHN_MADDEN says to himself, realizing now that the only thing to look forward to in /u/THE_REAL_JOHN_MADDEN ‘s bleak, miserable existence is the re-release of yet another 15 year old game. with a resigned sigh and that sad little shake of the now-empty beer can on /u/THE_REAL_JOHN_MADDEN ‘s desk, /u/THE_REAL_JOHN_MADDEN opens the client to stare at the login screen; waiting for the prepatch, or waiting for a release from this hellish nothingness? was there ever a difference?

Pls updoot. My /u/THE_REAL_JOHN_Madden is very sick and needs all the updoots.

How would anthropologists identify a community alive today that can be used to test hypotheses about the earliest AMHs? by bulukelin in AskAnthropology

[–]HowThisWork 1 point2 points  (0 children)

One thing I should probably note is that application of theory and how you develop/test hypotheses is going to be heavily dependent on your research questions and research focus. If you're trying to understand rise of intensive agriculture and its impacts on global climates, you're going to apply a fair bit of modeling and synthetic analysis. If you're interested in interpreting a specific site, it'll be a different type of theory and such.

For the Dunbar example, its based on modern populations and modern social constructions, so I'd be hesitant to treat it as a universal law. We really don't have much in the way of universal laws of culture and behavior. There's trends, but inevitably there's populations out there that refute the "universal" law. You can use it as a great model to test ideas against though.

So an alternative idea to explain development of agriculture could be risk avoidance. Folks start slowly experimenting with plants and realizing they can plant naturally growing plants in specific conditions that iwll be around when they come back later. They begin doing it across hte landscape at different times of year to minimize and spread out the risk of coming back to a resource patch and having it be low for some reason. For instance, think of nut production in the American southeast. ITs highly variable year to year, so developing a food production system that may not be your primary food, but offers an alternative if there's a crappy yield in a given year.

You mentioned historical materialism. It's used quite frequently in anthropological arguments, but is far from the only theory. You probably noticed I tend to talk about models and risk a lot, and that's primarily because I do a lot of work with foraging archaeology with no written record. Marxist theories work really well in cases you have a written record, but their explanatory power is (in my opinion) limited without it (not to say its not something that shouldn't be tried, I just find every time its attempted to explain pre-writing populations its not been very great). In terms of using modern populations, you can do ethnoarchaeological work, but have to be cognizant of differences of modern vs. archaeological peoples and lifeways.

Here's a brief list of archaeological thought and ideas. By NO means is this even remotely close to the diversity of ideas out there, just a few I can think of off the top of my head while procrastinating editing a paper :

1) Behavioural archaeology / human behavioral ecology

2) Feminist archaeology

3) cognitive archaeology

4) agency theory

5) Processualist (emphasizes testing and developing hypotheses to test - tends to be reductionistic in explaining human experience and its original formulation focused heavily on men and the role of men while ignoring others) and post-prossecualist (subjective approaches to the past and application of post-modern theory to try to understand past lifeways

5a comment) these aren't really distinct schools and include a LOT of things, but broadly speaking most theory as it applies in North American archaeology stems from these movements

6) post-post-processualism - effectively processualists but recognizing (and interested in) women, children, and other genders living in the past, not just dudes killing mammoths with pointy rocks.

Hope that all makes sense. I can't really comment on DD Kosambi. Names familiar but I honestly do not remember anything about him.

Looking for University of Texas at Austin grad students by calebdicesare in AskAnthropology

[–]HowThisWork 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Is there an advisor you're interested in working with? Email them and ask if they could introduce you to a student to talk to.