Middletown Materials: Archaeological Analysis
Spring 2011 not offered
ARCP 227, AMST 262
Buried beneath you as you walk the streets of Middletown is the residue of former residents. Mostly consisting of fragments of ceramics, glass, and other objects, these hold the potential to begin to unlock the day-to-day history of their past owners and users. In this course, we will use collections from excavations in Middletown, with sites dating from the 18th through 20th centuries, to begin to unearth these narratives.
We shall do this in two ways; a practical side will address artifact identification and classification. In half of classes, all students will participate in learning to catalog and identify artifacts from the Middletown historical archaeological collections, building an ongoing database. Recording this material will include learning to photograph archaeological artifacts, utilizing local archival holdings that relate to the excavations, and blogging about the research project.
To help form interpretations, the theoretical side this course addresses artifact studies within archaeology, particularly historical archaeology in North America. We will address specific issues about the social role of artifacts, focusing on how can we interpret their relation to ethnic, racialized, class, and gendered identities. The question of increasing mass production of goods and their relation to modern consumer society will also be examined.
The combination of research on the material evidence with background readings from historical archaeology will then form the basis of original student interpretation papers and presentations.
Interpretation, Quantitative Reasoning
Students will learn to interpret material culture to produce historical narratives. A major component of this will be through the use of quantitative data produced by the class through their ongoing work cataloging artifacts.
|Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Discussion
|Grading Mode: Graded
|Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)(SISP-Anth Conc)
A range of articles and manuals for identifying and cataloging artifacts, available in class, will form the practical side of readings. Theoretical texts will include those by Mary Beaudry, James Deetz, Mark Leone, Stephen Mrozowski, Paul Mullins and Charles Orser.
|Examinations and Assignments:
Response papers, research journal, class participation, final project
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