P200 Introduction to Prehistoric Archaeology
Study Guide for First Exam on Friday Feb 19
Our first exam will cover most of the material we have discussed in class as well as the assigned readings in the Price and Feinman text (pp 1-117, 120-121).
Allison will be holding a review session for you one night this week (probably Wednesday evening).
The format of the exam will ask you to write answers to a series of objective (1 minute) and short answer (5 minute) questions, and will also include one mini-essay (15 minute answer). The exam will NOT include multiple choice questions.
The exam will allow you to demonstrate your knowledge of some basic terminology and concepts that we have reviewed, as well as your specific knowledge of how the evidence at examples of archaeological sites has been interpreted. It will include a few questions that are simply "fact-recall opportunities," because you can't discuss interesting questions about the past unless you know some basic information. However, most of the questions will require you to put knowledge in context, integrate ideas, and explain yourself.
1. Know your sites!
Review all the sites we have discussed in class, as well as the sites that have been featured in the textbook. Think about why each site was chosen to highlight as important. In particular, be able to describe what was found at the following sites we have emphasized, how the sites have been interpreted, and why they are significant. Review how we have estimated their ages, and be able to plot their age and the duration of their technological tradition on a timeline. Be able to use examples of evidence (artifact types, features, bone assemblages, etc) from any of these sites in an essay or short answer question.
Oldowan sites: Gona, Olduvai FLK-Zinj, Koobi Fora site 50', Ubeidiya, Swartkrans
Acheulian sites: Olorgesailie, Kalambo Falls, Atapuerca, Zhoukoudien, Torralba/Ambrona, Boxgrove, Terra Amata
Middle Paleolithic / Middle Stone Age sites: Shanidar, Kebara, Klasies River Mouth
Upper Paleolithic sites: Lascaux, Pincevent & Etioles, Dolni Vestonice
2. Review important methodology, concepts & terms
- Review the different dating methods that relate to the sites we have discussed and you have read about. Understand when it is appropriate to apply each technique (what materials can be dated, what the time range is, what the principle behind the method is.)
- A number of terms are highlighted in the text or have been emphasized on overheads in lecture (e.g. "glacial" "assemblage" "taphonomy" "refitting" "loess" "palynology" etc... ) Make sure you understand what these terms mean and can describe examples of studies or sites that you have read about where they are relevant, or have been applied in context.
- Review the basic anatomical differences between the hominids we have focused on. (Don't worry about A. afarensis and the Hadar and Laetoli sites... I won't ask you about those.)
3. Examples of short answer questions:
- You have been invited to tour an Acheulian site in France. Briefly describe the types of artifacts, features and faunal assemblage you might expect to see, based on your knowledge of other Acheulian sites.
- What anatomical features of early Homo erectus suggested that they may have been more dependent upon meat than earlier hominids?
- What new types of artifacts first appeared during the Upper Paleolithic?
- How and when were handaxes made and what were they used for?
- What was the osteodontokeratic?
- You are excavating a rockshelter in the Near East that includes both Upper Paleolithic and Mousterian levels. Explain which techniques you could try to date the site.
- Describe the differences between Acheulian and the Middle Stone age lithic technology.
- Why have some archaeologists argued that the earliest anatomically modern humans did not behave any differently from the neanderthals?
4. Examples of mini-essay questions:
- Species of "archaic Homo" hominids include Homo erectus as old as 1.8 million years ago, and examples of hominids that lived in Europe and African around 300,000 years ago. Describe what aspects of their anatomy and behavior stayed the same during this time, and examples of evidence that argues for change.
- Of all the sites we have studied, which one do you think represents the oldest definitive evidence of hominids returning to a central campsite or "homebase"? Describe why earlier examples are controversial.
- Describe how Bob Brain's research cast doubt on the osteo-donto-keratic hypothesis.
- Why has it been so difficult to identify the origins of big game hunting in the archaeological record?