Dating Techniques Essay


The first week of World Archaeology introduces several key ideas about how archaeologists study the past. For your initial written assignment you are asked to write a single-spaced report of 1 to 1.5 pages (7000 to 750 words). Use in-line citations and provide a brief bibliography (not included in your word count).

Write in your own words about


of the two choices below (do not do both):

  1. Review Feder’s discussion of the early North American settlement at Pilfershire, Connecticut, and describe what is there that indicates an earlier human occupation. Further, discuss what makes this place an archaeological site. Identify and describe at least 5 kinds of remains that have survived and, thinking about a site layout (spatial organization), discuss how these are arranged. Based on your readings from Chapter 2 in the Feder book and your review of internet sources for this week, indicate at least three (3) ways archaeologists might study these remains.
  2. Consider the various techniques archaeologists use for determining the age of archaeological materials (see Chpt 2 of your text). Discuss three (3) of these in detail and indicate the principles underlying the application, the useful age range (that is, how old can the site or specimen can be), and what kinds of material can be dated using that technique. Provide some site examples from your reading.

Note: An example of inline citation: “Feder’s book includes references to early human fossil forms such as

Homo erectus

(Feder 2017: 120).”

To include in list of references:

Feder, James 2017.

The Past in Perspective: An Introduction to Human Prehistory

. 7th edition. New York: Oxford University Press.

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