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1: Anthropology and Archaeology - An Overview

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    Learning Objectives

    • Define anthropology and explain the holistic perspective.
    • Identify, describe, and distinguish between the four sub-disciplines of anthropology.
    • Characterize the anthropological approach and methods used to gather information.
    • Define material culture.
    • Describe the origins of archaeology.
    • Compare pothunting to scientific excavation.

    • 1.1: What is Anthropology?
      From museums, science magazines, television shows, and even films, most of us have had some exposure to archaeology and have become familiar with some of the world’s most famous archaeological discoveries. However, have you ever met an archaeologist in person? What is archaeology and what do archaeologists do? First, archaeology is much more than digging! Archaeology is just one of the sub-disciplines of the larger field of anthropology.
    • 1.2: The Anthropological Approach
      What sets anthropology apart from related disciplines, such as history, sociology, and psychology, is that it combines the scientific method, fieldwork, and a holistic perspective. These methods and perspectives are what define the anthropological approach.
    • 1.3: The Origins of Archaeology
      It seems that people have always been curious about cultures of the past. Evidence of the interest in studying the past goes back at least as far as New Kingdom Egypt in the 15th century BC. These early examples illustrate three characteristics of contemporary anthropology: excavating ancient remains, recording the work, and preserving the finds.
    • 1.4: Chapter One Review
      Review important concepts and definitions of key terms.

    Image: Statue of Xochipilli. National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City, 2011, by gripso_banana_prune Antony Stanley, under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

    1: Anthropology and Archaeology - An Overview is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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