Jason P. De Leon
Investigation of special topics in archaeology focusing on developing basic analytical, practical, and numerical skills.
SPRING 2010 ANTH 269/ARCHY 269 Introduction to Ethnoarchaeology and Material Culture Studies: This introductory-level course is intended to give students a basic understanding of ethnoarchaeology and material culture studies.
Ethnoarchaeology involves the use of archaeological and ethnographic research methods to study the behavioral relationships that underlie the production and consumption of material culture. “Material culture" here refers to the physical things (i.e., objects) that we create, modify, use, and discard on a daily basis. Whether it is a projectile point, the megaliths of Stone Henge, a pair of chop sticks, an Ipod, or the Berlin Wall, human existence has always been characterized by interactions with the objects that make up our physical world. These “objects" may be inanimate, but they act upon people and people act up them. More importantly, these objects come to be imbued with significant cultural meaning by the people who interact with them on various levels (individual, national, cultural, etc.).
This course teaches students how to use archaeology to study modern human behavior such as undocumented migration, individual life-histories, binge drinking, and criminal behavior such as drug dealing. Additionally, students learn about the importance of material culture in our daily lives.
Student learning goals
To be able to understand key concepts in ethnoarchaeology and material culture studies.
To understand the complimentary relationship between ethnography and archaeology.
To understand how archaeology is a useful tool for understanding modern human behavior.
To understand how humans create and engage with objects.
To create a short digital ethno-archaeological film project.
General method of instruction
This course is half lecture and half film watching. The instructor will lecture each class on a theme taken from the readings. This is followed by a documentary, recorded live performance, or a popular film related to the lecture topic.
Class assignments and grading
This course is two exams, section, and a small ethnoarchaeological project.
Students are graded on two exams, a final project, and a section component.