1 Introduction to this Workbook
Welcome to Introduction to Archaeology! This class will show you what archaeology is, what archaeologists’ study, and significant archaeological sites all over the world. Archaeology is a fascinating and unique field of study that focuses on recovering and interpreting material remains left behind by past peoples. In order to derive meaning from static artifacts and turn them into dynamic human behavior in the past – archaeologists have developed specific research methods and analyses to help them in their quest to better understand our human story. From 3.3 million years ago when the first stone tools were made – to just a decade ago, or even yesterday – archaeology is an exciting science that explores early human evolution, ancient religions, different cultures, the development of technology, and more!
Anthropology, and archaeology more specifically, is a social scientific discipline rooted in both quantitative and qualitative research methods to understand peoples, cultures, technologies, and societies in the past. Archaeology is the branch of Anthropology which analyzed material remains to understand and champion human culture in the past. While archaeologists are primarily concerned with the past, it is also relevant to the present and future as archaeologists study issues that continue to impact our societies, such as social inequality, environmental change, and political conflict.
Introduction to Archaeology will provide you with an understanding of archaeological methods, theories, and concepts, as well as an overview of how our ideas about early human ancestors and diverse cultures have changed over time. You will learn about artifacts, but also move beyond them to think critically about what the past means to you, to each other, and the importance of our shared global cultural heritage.
This workbook is designed to help you “think like an archaeologist” to get deeper into the science and work with new concepts. Exercises in the workbook will take you through how archaeology is presented in the media, how and when archaeology was invented, different types of archaeological evidence, how archaeologists find and dig sites, and many other topics. When archaeologists are “in the field” and excavating a site, they create very detailed written records in field notebooks. This workbook will act as your field notes throughout the class. This workbook is not a substitute for class lectures; instead lectures and the workbook work together, as each workbook exercise is designed to act as both a review of material from lectures and an engaging activity.
Let’s start exploring!
This workbook has been provided to you free of cost thanks to the UTA CARES grant program.