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2.3: Chapter Two Review

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    Test Your Knowledge

    • What is the three-age system and why can it not be applied to all cultures?
    • How did Unilineal Cultural Evolution explain the evolution of cultures?
    • What is the primary focus of the classificatory-historical paradigm (Historical Particularism)?
    • What contributions of the classificatory-historical paradigm are still used by archaeologists today?


    Cultural Unilineal Evolution The belief that cultures moved through various stages (savagery, barbarism, and civilization) of development according to different levels of rational knowledge resulting in a culture that resembled Western European society. Also known as Progressive Social Evolutionary Theory (PSET).

    culture areas Geographic regions based on ethnographically defined cultural similarities.

    culture history The approach to archaeology assuming artifacts can be used to build a generalized picture of human culture and descriptive models in time and space, and that these can be interpreted (Fagan, 2006).

    dendrochronology The study of tree-ring growth patterns, which are linked to develop a continuous chronological sequence (Ashmore & Sharer, 2014).

    Historical Particularism The perspective that each society has its own unique historical development and must be understood based on its own specific cultural and environmental context, especially its historical process (Franz Boas and His Students). Also known as classificatory-historical paradigm.

    Mesolithic Period The period of time in prehistory in which humans transitioned from group hunting large animals to a hunting gathering lifestyle. The use of composite flaked and chipped tools such as bow and arrows.

    midden An accumulation of debris and refuse from human activity.

    model A theoretical scheme constructed to understand a specific set of data or phenomena.

    Neolithic Period The period of time in prehistory in which humans transitioned to a more sedentary lifestyle and began cultivating plants, domesticating animals, and using ground and polished stone tools.

    Paleolithic Period The period of time in prehistory in which humans developed chipped and flaked stone tools.

    prehistory The span of time before recorded history in written form.

    three-age system A model of categorizing artifacts in the Old World into three historical time periods based on the materials used in tool production: Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age.

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