THE EXCAVATION METHODOLOGY

THE EXCAVATION METHODOLOGY

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Last update 30/06/2020 20:36
Code
84291
ACADEMIC YEAR
2020/2021
CREDITS
9 credits during the 2nd year of 9023 ANCIENT STUDIES: ARCHAEOLOGY, PHILOLOGY AND LITERATURES, HISTORY (LM-2) GENOVA
SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR
L-ANT/10
LANGUAGE
Italian
TEACHING LOCATION
GENOVA (ANCIENT STUDIES: ARCHAEOLOGY, PHILOLOGY AND LITERATURES, HISTORY)
semester
2° Semester
Teaching materials

OVERVIEW

The course presents the tricky relationship between the complexity of material vestiges and the theoretical and practical tools through which archaeologist can identify and interpret them. The course will encourage students to reflect on the informational potential of material and logical traces, single traces and clusters, which are sources for the reconstruction of human history and the reconstruction of the history of human interaction with the environment.

AIMS AND CONTENT

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Knowing in depth the potential and the goals of archaeological on-the-ground research; being able to analyze the relationship between the complexity of material vestiges and the theoretical and practical tools through which archaeologist can identify and interpret them. Being able to analyze single traces and whole contexts in their material and logical aspects; being able to see traces as the result of the transformation of matter due to natural events and behaviors. Being able to illustrate the complex relation between material data and their informational potential, by presenting case studies from archaeological and ethno-archaeological research.

AIMS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

Taking the course, the student will be able to:

  • orient himself in the delicate relationship between the materiality of data and its actual informative potential;
  • identify and document sets of material and logic traces, relating them to human activities and practices, and distinguish them according to their relevance to the systemic or the archaeological context;
  • evaluate the traces' information potential in relation to the behavioral systems they've been originated from;
  • orient himself between the methods which can allow decoding of traces.

PREREQUISITES

General knowledge of the main issues concerning the Methods and Theory of the Archaeological Research.

Teaching methods


The course will consist of lectures with projection of images on computer support.
During the lessons concernig with stratigraphy and the Harris matrix, singular and group exercises on the blackboard will also be done.

SYLLABUS/CONTENT

Contents for students who are taking the 6-CFU course

Interpretation of archaeological evidence: issues and theoretical implications;
The role of environment in the interpretation of evidence;
Complex stratifications and post-depositional processes in the relation between systemic context and archaeological context;
Active and passive post-depositional processes: analysis of a few case studies;

Contents for students who are taking the 9-CFU course

Interpretation of archaeological evidence: issues and theoretical implications;
The role of environment in the interpretation of evidence;
Complex stratifications and post-depositional processes in the relation between systemic context and archaeological context;
Active and passive post-depositional processes: analysis of a few case studies;
Physical traces and logical traces: negative evidence;
The limits of Harris' matrix: propositions for adaptation and integration in order to represent transformation and continuity;
Material aspect of behavior and characteristics of matter: the potential and limits of correlation;
Archaeological traces as traces of behaviors: a reflection upon visibility, informational potential and the issues related to excavation and registration;
Informational potential and practical strategies for decoding information in common stratigraphic situations;
Traces and indications of symbolic behaviors: major issues related to recognition and interpretation of evidence.
The role of Harris' diagram in data interpretation.
Phase and Period maps, seriation tables and distribution maps.

RECOMMENDED READING/BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bibliography for students who are taking the 9-CFU course

- A. Guidi, I metodi della ricerca archeologica, Roma 2006.
- S. Pallecchi, Archeologia delle tracce, Roma 2008.
- C. Renfrew, P. Bahn, Archaeology. Theories, Methods and Practice, New York 1991, pp. 9-148.
- M. Vidale, Che cos'è l'etnoarcheologia, Roma 2004.
- Ph. Barker, Understanding Archaeological Excavation, London 1986.

 

Bibliography for students who are taking the 9-CFU course

- E. C. Harris, Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy, London 1989.
- S. Pallecchi, Archeologia delle tracce, Roma 2008.
- M.B. Schiffer, Formation Processes of the Archaeological Record, Salt Lake City 1987.
- C. Renfrew, P. Bahn, Archaeology. Theories, Methods and Practice, New York 1991, pp. 150-484.
- M. Vidale, Che cos'è l'etnoarcheologia, Roma 2004.

TEACHERS AND EXAM BOARD

Ricevimento: The professor will meet students and undergraduates via Microsoft Teams, through online appointments scheduled via email

Exam Board

SILVIA PALLECCHI (President)

ANTONINO FACELLA

ELENA SANTORO (Substitute)

FABIO NEGRINO (Substitute)

LESSONS

Teaching methods


The course will consist of lectures with projection of images on computer support.
During the lessons concernig with stratigraphy and the Harris matrix, singular and group exercises on the blackboard will also be done.

EXAMS

Exam description

The exam involves passing a written test and an oral interview. Passing the written test is necessary to be able to access the oral exam. The written test will be considered passed with the achievement of a mark equal to or greater than 18/30.

As part of the written test, the student must demonstrate that he has acquired adequate basic knowledge about the complexity of the information potential of archaeological evidence and the problematic aspects inherent in their interpretation. The student must also demonstrate that he has acquired the ability to process complex matrixes of stratigraphic units, drawn up according to the Harris method, and to be able to manage their correlation, activation, phasing and periodization processes.

As part of the oral exam, the student will be called to discuss his written work and must demonstrate that he has understood the complexity of the decoding process of material evidence, also in relation to the role of the environment and the incidence of post-depositional phenomena, in relationship between systemic context and archaeological context.

 

The exam involves passing a written test and an oral interview. Passing the written test is necessary to be able to access the oral exam. The written test will be considered passed with the achievement of a mark equal to or greater than 18/30.

As part of the written test, the student must demonstrate that he has acquired adequate basic knowledge about the complexity of the information potential of archaeological evidence and the problematic aspects inherent in their interpretation. The student must also demonstrate that he has acquired the ability to process complex matrixes of stratigraphic units, drawn up according to the Harris method, and to be able to manage their correlation, activation, phasing and periodization processes.

As part of the oral exam, the student will be called to discuss his written work and must demonstrate that he has understood the complexity of the decoding process of material evidence, also in relation to the role of the environment and the incidence of post-depositional phenomena, in relationship between systemic context and archaeological context.

Assessment methods

The assessment method of ascertaining the degree of learning achieved takes into account the following value scale:

1) The student shows that he has deeply understood the proposed texts and the topics presented in class, has acquired the ability to elaborate interpretative hypotheses in the analysis of real case studies and is able to express himself with appropriate language; he is also able to elaborate complex matrices of the stratigraphic units, drawn up according to the Harris method, and to manage their correlation, activation, phasing and periodization processes: the exam will be assessed with marks between very good and excellent (from 28 to 30 with honors);

2) The student has acquired exclusively or mainly mnemonic knowledge and does not demonstrate a deep understanding of the proposed themes; he is, however, able to develop some simple interpretative reasoning in the analysis of real case studies and expresses himself using correct, but not always appropriate, language; he is able to elaborate complex matrices of the stratigraphic units, drawn up according to the Harris method, but reveals some uncertainty in the management of correlation, activation, phasing and periodization processes: the exam will have an evaluation between good (25-27 ) and satisfactory (23-24);

3) The student acquired superficial knowledge and developed a partial understanding of the topics covered; is unable to elaborate interpretative reasoning in the analysis of real case studies, expresses himself with inappropriate language and reveals decisive uncertainties in the development and management of complex matrices: the exam will be considered sufficient (18-22) ;

4) The student demonstrates training gaps, is unable to elaborate interpretative reasoning in the analysis of real case studies, expresses himself with inappropriate language and does not orient himself in the development and management of complex matrices: the exam will be assessed negatively.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Beginning of Classes

February 13, 2018