Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Magnitude, Direction, and Interpretation: Formation Factors of Archaeological Assemblages
by Johnson, Ryan, M.A., University of Kansas, 2013, 65; 1540728
Abstract (Summary)

Historically, archaeology has worked under the assumption that buried deposits are more valuable for archaeological inquiry, as they retain more of their original context. While better techniques have developed for dealing effectively with so called "lithic scatter" and other surface materials, large-scale changes have not occurred in the way that these materials are treated by the discipline as a whole. This is in part because the methodology concerning these materials is self-reinforcing; a differential valuation creates differential results, which in turn justify future differential valuations. Some basic concepts of physics, applied properly, demonstrate an effective way in which surface materials may be treated. But new techniques alone are inadequate; here, a critique of terminology and attitudes is presented as a motivation for change. Ultimately, such investigations must implicitly recognize the basic idea that the forces that act on artifacts, from the quarry to the trowel, are not destructive as much as they are formative.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hofman, Jack
Commitee: Mandel, Rolfe, Radovanovic, Ivana
School: University of Kansas
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Kansas
Source: MAI 52/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology
Keywords: Archaeology, Lithics, Physics, Scatter, Site formation, Surface
Publication Number: 1540728
ISBN: 978-1-303-21116-4
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