Ancient History – History, Archaeology and Science notes
What is history vs archaeology, and what are the different methods used by historians and archaeologists?
· Understanding of the past
· ‘learning by inquiry’
· Impact of past events in short and long term
· Social history (lifestyles etc.)
· History methodology – collection, analysis, interpretation
· Variety of perspectives
· Much younger (200 years old)
· ‘the discussion of ancient things;
· Examines physical remains – to reconstruct the past
· E.g. remains of buildings, tombs, pottery
· Uses physics, computing, geology and biology
· Investigate and understand the past
· Use evidence
· Assumptions made to understand the past
· Uses physical sources
Finding a site
· Soil marks:
· can only be seen aerially and outline where a ditch, pit or mound once was
· the soil may be a different colour to the rest of the field
· They expose the outline of buried features such as wall, buildings or even entire settlements
· Shadow marks:
· visible from the air when very low earthworks or mounds cast shadows at dawn, sunset or in winter months when the sun is low in the sky.
· Satellite photography:
· more efficient that aerial photography as it takes over 200 aerial mapping photos to cover the same area as a single satellite image.
· Crop marks:
· Surveying techniques:
· 1st technique is simple observation
· records physical features and surface finds which are then plotted on a map which display where to dig
· finds found when building wells, ploughing, building roads etc.
· Geophysical surveying:
· refers to the physics of the Earth and its environment.
· once potential site identified they use e.g. in Roman Villa:
· GPR which is a technique where the radar signal in the form of an electromagnetic pulse is directed into the group which detects reflections of buried objects and changes in soil composition which works best in uniform sandy soil conditions
· resistivity where a resistivity meter is used to pass an electric current between two metal probes in the ground to measure the resistance of the soil to the current this is based on the amount of moisture in the soil
· magnetic surveying which detects using a proton magnetometer where the highest readings come from iron, brick, burned soil and rock and lower readings are given by disturbed soils or decayed organic materials
· Grid system: excavation method
· Sites divided into boxes or squares which are dug out into marked squares, and excavated.
· Baulks (walls) are left between the grids/ boxes to reveal the layers (strata)
· Find spots can be plotted according to the grid coordinates and the layer (strata)
· Time periods and layers are clearly obvious (Stratigraphy)
· Open area excavation
· Each successive layer (stratum) is fully excavated before the next layer
· Horizontal relationships with other artefacts of same time/ stratum are...