Essays on archaeological typology

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Essays on archaeological typology

History[ edit ] Although the principles were not clearly articulated, the application of basic typological techniques can occasionally be found in the work of early modern antiquaries.

As early as the s, John Leland successfully identified Roman bricks under the misleading designation "Briton brykes" at several different sites, distinguishing them from more modern bricks by size and shape.

Hildebrand published a fundamental paper on the development of fibulae in the s using the typological method, whereas Montelius at the same time went to international congresses and published smaller papers on this method.

Another early example is the typology published in by Flinders Petrie for the objects mainly pottery found in prehistoric Egyptian graves. Statistical methods for creating a typology[ edit ] With the development of statistical techniques and numerical taxonomy in the s, mathematical methods including Cluster analysisPrincipal components analysiscorrespondence analysis and Factor analysis have been used to build typologies.

These techniques provide a qualitative way to articulate the degrees of consistency among particular attributes. Correlation coefficients created by these methods help archaeologists discern between meaningful and useless similarities between artefacts.

Ceramic typology[ edit ] For cultures that produced pottery, archaeologists invariably spend a great deal of time defining ceramic "types. Ideally, the attributes used to identify types are ones that are identifiable with the naked eye, and are found on small fragments of pottery, so that the sorting of potsherds into types is quick and straightforward.

By sorting potsherds in terms of types, archaeologists can examine a series of potsherds including those lying on a site surface and quickly suggest when and where the pottery was made. By extension, they can estimate when a prehistoric site was used, whether there are any traded pieces, and so on.

The names assigned to the ceramic types are arbitrary. Thus, for example, the type "Flagstaff Black-on-white" was first defined using a collection from the vicinity of Flagstaff, Arizona, and its primary design attribute is the use of black paint on a white background.

Non-archaeologists should be aware of the limitations of ceramic typology. All such typologies are abstractions, and fail to describe all of the variability in an artistic tradition.

Professional disagreement over specifics is common. Changes in ceramic design did not happen overnight, and archaeological typologies tend to break continua of design evolution into arbitrary but highly useful units.

Most archaeological dates are approximate. They documented their work in books. It is based on the physical characteristics and the external features of an artifact. Some examples of morphological and descriptive typologies would be categorizing artifacts distinctively on their weight, height, color, material, or whichever class the individual decides upon.

So, the projectile points could be sorted by weight, height, color, material, or however the archaeologists prefers. One of the first national typology bases available on the web, The Projectile Points Typology Databaseexhibits how the arrowhead artifacts found are classified among the fifty states by region, state, or nationwide.

In this particular example, the arrowheads are classified by their shape. The categories consist of: Each category may also be narrowed down into subsequent ones.

Archaeologist classified these arrowheads based on the projectile point shape. Chronological typology[ edit ] This type consists of sequential ordering of archaeological artifacts merely based on form.

Functional typology[ edit ] Artifacts organized into this kind of typology are sorted by the use they serve rather than the looks they have or the chronological sequence they possess. Stylistic typology is not to be confused with classification of certain styles, for that would just entail organizing artifacts based on how they look.

This type of typology accounts for information told through the artifact.

Ancient Egypt | Lectures & Publications | AERA & Mark Lehner | Ancient Egypt Research Associates

Pottery is an example of a stylistic typology because the artifacts provide information on artistic evolution.One of the most important discoveries that relate to the time of the Exodus is the Merneptah stele which dates to about BC.

Merneptah, the king of Egypt, boasts that .

Essays on archaeological typology

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