Originally Posted by KatharinetheGr8
Ready to be bored??? I've been working on my Master's thesis in archaeology for about a year now. The official title is The Mary Rinn Site Rediscovered: An Analysis of Features and the Use of Space at the Late Woodland Site. In archaeological terms, the goal is to classify the features on the site in question, perform a spatial analysis, attempt to understand whether there was a single or multiple components to the site, and perform a comparison of the results of my research to similar sites in the region.
In layman's terms, the first part of my thesis is to create an index to all of the features at the site. Human activity leaves an archaeological signature on the landscape. Features are the immobile material culture found on the site. In historical archaeology, this often includes building foundations, structural remains such as window glass, nails, brick fragments, etc. For prehistoric archaeology, and pertinent to my thesis, are material remains that would indicate a cooking hearth, soil color and consistency change that would indicate the location of a dwelling or palisade post, or cached artifacts that would indicate a storage location.
The second part will be to map the location of all the features and to infer meaning from their locations. This can include statistical techniques and can tell the researcher a lot about the paradigm of the culture who created the site.
My third research question will address whether the site had a single occupation or multiple occupations. Consider a regular town found in the United States. A town that was consistently occupied by generation after generation of Americans would have a single component. Now think of somewhere like Pompeii. It had a vibrant and thriving occupation until that fateful day when Mount Vesuvius erupted blanketing the area with ash and pumice. That area was abandoned after the destruction. After time, the location and the catastrophe was forgotten and the area was reoccupied. Today the area of the ancient civilization is located in a suburb of Naples. This would demonstrate at least 2 components to the site of Pompeii. In my thesis, I'm trying to determine whether the site was settled once by a group of people slightly before contact with Europeans (dates between about AD 900 and AD 1379) or whether the site was used regularly by several groups of people over a longer period. This is more probable as the area was environmentally and ecologically attractive and several artifacts from the Archaic period have been found on the site.
Once I determine all of these things, I intend to compare what I've found to a few other select sites in the area. The sites I've selected judgmentally because I have easy access to the data.
That about sums it up. Asleep yet?