Teaching through the Past: Advances in Technological Analysis of the Archaeological Record

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

Over the last half century archaeology has continuously adopted new technologies to more effectively study the past, and has grown as a technologically savvy and innovative field. Twenty-first century archaeologists must not only be skilled in traditional methods of analysis and interpretation of the archaeological record, but learn to incorporate a myriad of ever-changing platforms of technology into their skill set. From computer modeling to geophysical survey methods, from high-resolution satellite imagery to chemical analysis of lithics, advances in technology have helped piece together the story of human history and prehistory in ways previously not possible. With greater accessibility and ease of use, technology has become a constant companion to archaeologists both in the field and the lab. It has allowed for the collection, analysis, and comparison of big data sets and encouraged new interpretations of old knowledge. This session will explore a few of the recent advances in technological tools as well as new applications for existing technologies to the field of archaeology.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-6 of 6)

  • Documents (6)

  • Castles and their Landscapes: A Gravity Model Experiment (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kate Buchanan.

    Castle studies in recent years has developed two major themes in developing technology: landscape studies and spatial analysis. Studies of castle landscapes have shown that external spaces were intensively used and a significant part of the space actively portrayed as noble environment. Spatial analysis has been key in identifying spaces of control, privacy, and household interaction within the castle structure. One of the limitations of spatial analysis in castle studies is the failure to...

    DOCUMENT Citation Only Peter Leach. Brian Robinson.

    The Seabrook Marsh site [SBM] in Hampton, New Hampshire is a ca. 3500-4500 BP multi-component site beneath 1-2 meters of salt marsh peat and exposed at a rapidly eroding shoreface. Like most intertidal archaeological sites SBM occupies a dynamic environment. Daily tidal fluctuations slightly modify surficial sediments, but on a monthly, seasonal, or annual scale the magnitude of changes is quite significant. The resulting landscape modifications range from minor erosion and deposition to...

  • Droning on a Budget: UAVs, Aerial Imagery, and Photogrammetry for the Archaeologist (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Thomas Whitley.

    Recent changes to the FAA regulations covering the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or "drones" have clarified their use in both research and commercial operations. This paper is intended to provide an overview of low-cost entry into the use of UAVs for archaeological projects and considerations for applications in aerial imagery, videography, and photogrammetry. Using drones for documentation and interpretation is no longer uncommon, but it has been cost-prohibitive since the previous...

  • High Precision Mapping of Human Behavior in Ethnographic Contexts, a New Tool for Ethnoarchaeology (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Todd Surovell. Randy Haas. Matthew O'Brien.

    Ethnoarchaeological studies attempt to link human behavior to the material residues they produce for the purpose of developing archaeological method and theory. Traditional studies in spatial ethnoarchaeology, however, have focused on the mapping of material remains, but the spatial distribution of the behaviors that produced them, the thing that interests us most, has gone largely undocumented and for good reason. Until recently, it was not technically possible to map people in space in a way...

  • Just a Scratch: An Experimental Application of Reverse-Microwear Analysis (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kevin Malloy. Heather Rockwell.

    In the summer of 2013 a thin piece of slate with peculiar, jagged grooves was recovered from the excavation of the Buzzart Dykes medieval park landscape in the council area of Perth and Kinross, Scotland. Unclear whether the grooves were natural or anthropogenic we employed a new method of examination, known as "reverse microwear analysis," to understand what material made the scratches. A series of experiments were conducted where slate pieces were incised using a variety of different stone and...

    DOCUMENT Citation Only Brigid Grund.

    Prehistoric archaeologists traditionally focus on periods of stability rather than change when constructing regional cultural chronologies, even though explaining periods of change is equally if not more important than explaining periods of stability. The advent of large radiocarbon date databases and the proliferation of open source computing programs such as program R have recently provided archaeologists with the tools necessary to begin understanding prehistoric transitions with high...