Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short by Paul Bahn

By Paul Bahn

This unique very brief creation displays the long-lasting approval for archaeology-a topic which appeals as a hobby, profession, and educational self-discipline, encompasses the complete globe, and surveys 2.5 million years. From deserts to jungles, from deep caves to mountain tops, from pebble instruments to satellite tv for pc images, from excavation to summary idea, archaeology interacts with approximately another self-discipline in its makes an attempt to reconstruct the earlier.

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The Danish Iron Age bog body, Tollund Man, was found to have eaten a gruel before death (Sir Mortimer Wheeler, in a pioneering piece of experimental archaeology, tried a reconstruction of this concoction, and found it a foul-tasting mush), whereas Britain’s Lindow Man had eaten a griddle cake, a kind of rough bread. Analysis of coprolites from Lovelock Cave, Nevada, dating from 2,500 to 150 years ago, revealed the presence of seeds, fragments of bird-feathers, and fish-scales: one, from 1,000 years ago, contained bones from 101 small chubs, representing a total live weight of 208 g.

Archaeological and anthropological evidence for cannibalism have shown that all claims are open to other explanations, such as violence or complex funerary rituals; but a few scholars persist in interpreting human bones that are disarticulated, traumatized, or covered in cutmarks – for example in some Anasazi sites of c. ad 1100 in the American South-West – as evidence of cannibalism. They may be correct, but we really have no way of knowing; like so many things in archaeology it comes down to a question of faith and personal preference.

Prehistoric art not only has a huge timespan but also comprises a vast 45 How Did People Think? cognitive activity – the pebble’s natural resemblance to a woman was array of types and topics, from scratches on bone to wonderful polychrome paintings, from simple finger-markings on clay to sophisticated three-dimensional sculptures. So one can find everything and anything in it that one wishes; thus, those humbugs and their gullible readers, who in the 1970s proclaimed that there was evidence of extraterrestrials or ancient astronauts in the archaeological record, even found images in rock art that looked (to them at least) like spacemen!

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