Anthropology | Research Methods in Archaeology
P601 | 26874 | Sievert


Above class meets 1st eight weeks only

Lithic analysis has long been used to address issues of mobility,
technology, control, activity patterning, economic systems, and
ceremonial life. This seminar addresses the role of lithic analysis in
archaeology and takes an in-depth look at the theoretical approaches
used by archaeologists to understand stone tool production,
consumption and exchange. We begin with exploring changes in
approaches to stone tools throughout the processual and
post-processual periods in archaeology, and work toward a synthesis of
lithic analysis for use in the future. Participants will gain some
ideas on how to turn stone tools into usable information about the
past and how to understand and evaluate what other archaeologists are
doing. The first direction for reading and discussion will be
historical and critical. The second will focus on theoretical
approaches and realms of knowledge or specific topics. The third will
look at stone materials in modern contexts. Because of the course
breadth, this seminar will be suitable for graduate students in any
subfield, from the archaeologist who may need to do lithic analysis,
to the cultural anthropologist who wishes to gain perspective on the
ways in which people past and present relate to stone.

Goals: Participants will gain some perspective on how and why lithic
analysis developed, what questions lithics analysts have hoped to
answer, and what techniques they employ. Second, and more important,
participants should come out of this course capable of evaluating the
potential for lithic analysis to contribute to archaeological projects
and knowledge. We will look how analysts can better devise creative
approaches to archaeological interpretation using those ubiquitous,
durable stony bits.

Readings
Odell, George 2003 Lithic Analysis by. Cambridge University Press,
Cambridge. It has lots of nitty-gritty stuff about lithic analysis and
is a useful handbook for all archaeologists to have.
Whittaker, John. 2004 American Flintknappers. University of Texas
Press, Austin.
Cobb, Charles 2000. From Quarry to Cornfield: The Political Economy of
Mississippian Hoe Production, University of Alabama Press.

Other specific readings will either be on e-reserve or Oncourse, or
will be handed out or assigned each week.  Not every student will read
all the same materials each week.  Students will come to class
prepared to summarize, discuss and synthesize the readings.  This way
we can cover more material, and become more broadly exposed to
different perspectives.

Evaluation
Participants will write a research/grant proposal. This will help you
practice doing the things you will be doing as an anthropologist in
the real world. Proposals will be due at the end of the semester (so
you will have roughly 8 weeks beyond the end of the class meetings to
work on them). Everyone will get to read and comment on everyone
else’s proposal.