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THE RECORD OF THE PAST
1. Underwater archaeology is limited to the investigation of sunken ships.
2. An idealized reconstruction of a caveman would be referred to as a fossil.
3. All bones will eventually become fossils.
4. A cave in which leopards drop the bones of their prey has the potential to become a fossil locality.
5. An artifact’s context is its specific location as well as any associated materials.
6. Antiquarianism continues to flourish in modern anthropology.
7. Archaeologists can record every piece of information about each artifact they recover.
8. Research is guided by the questions about the past that the archaeologist wants to answer.
9. Elizabeth Brumfiel’s research on Aztec society indicates that the production of cloth by women was
an important element of their tribute-based economy.
10. Some archaeological sites were found by accident.
11. Proton magnetometry is considered to be a form of remote sensing.
12. In an archaeological research design, excavation usually comes before survey.
13. Archaeological excavation is a destructive process.
14. There is a standard set of field techniques that is used by all archaeologists.
15. The study of archaeological stratigraphy is based on the same principles as the study of geological
16. Radiocarbon dating can be obtained from organic materials, such as wood and bone.
17. Fission-track dating is based on the decay of a radioactive isotope of uranium.
18. The age of a tree can be obtained by counting the number of its rings.
19. Seriation is a method for establishing an absolute chronology.
20. All researchers are affected by their own personal and cultural biases.
Multiple Choice Questions
21. Elizabeth Brumfiel’s investigation into the role of women in Aztec society utilized:
A. primatology and sociolinguistics
B. ethnoarchaeology and psychological anthropology
C. archaeology and historical records
D. population genetics and carbon dating
22. One of the first fossil finds of human ancestors was in Germany; this early human species was:
A. a Cossack
B. a powerfully-built Celt
C. Olduvai man
D. Neandertal man
23. Fossils are:
A. remains, impressions, or traces of living creatures that are preserved by geological processes
B. stones and other materials that have been modified by past human activity
C. theoretical reconstructions of ancient species, such as dinosaurs and Neandertals
D. geological formations that imitate the shapes of living creatures
24. Which of the following is UNLIKELY to contribute to the formation of a fossil locality?
A. activities by early human ancestors
B. insect and microbial action
C. decomposition and decay
D. erosion by wind and rain
25. Nonmoveable artifacts, such as hearths, pits, or walls, are referred to by archaeologists as:
A. fossil localities
26. An artifact is defined as:
A. a fossil
B. any object that was made or modified by humans
C. anything found at an archaeological site
D. any object that provides ecofacts
27. The context of an artifact is important for an archaeologist to know because:
A. it can reveal valuable information about the artifact’s use, age, and relationship to other artifacts
B. archaeology is strongly influenced by physical anthropology
C. artifacts are too large to be removed
D. objects cannot be preserved if they are taken out of their archaeological context
28. Under which circumstances is a human body LEAST likely to be preserved for long periods of time?
A. buried in a tropical rain forest tomb
B. hidden in a dry cave in southern Arizona
C. submerged in a waterlogged peat bog in Denmark
D. frozen in a Tyrolean glacier
29. Modern archaeologists’ most fundamental desires is to:
A. find objects for archaeological museums
B. fund research by selling ancient treasures
C. understand the human past
D. continue the tradition of romance and adventure in exotic places
30. Historical archaeologists in North America during the past several decades have focused on:
A. immigrants who arrived in the last 500 years
B. migration of the first humans on the continent
C. historical records of indigenous societies
D. physical characteristics of American Indian tribes
31. The “unsystematic” method for finding archaeological sites is carried out by:
A. walking around and looking at eroded areas such as trails, river banks, and plowed fields
B. conducting excavations in a region where sites are known to be located
C. computer interpretation of images from satellites and the space shuttle
D. using electrical resistivity equipment to recognize patterns in features located immediately
below the surface
32. Which of the following would be an example of subsurface testing?
A. proton magnetometry
B. aerial photography
C. stratigraphic dating
D. transect survey
33. The first steps undertaken in most archaeological excavations are:
A. establishment of a datum and a grid
B. using heavy machinery to strip off modern vegetation and expose a vertical profile through the
C. reassembling the archaeological site from field notes and photographs
D. dating artifacts and features using radioactive carbon
34. “Middens” are an archaeological term for:
A. professional gatherings to exchange research results
B. special instruments used to excavate small bones
C. ancient trash piles
D. fossilized artifacts
35. Faunal succession is based on the process of:
A. geological metamorphosis
B. change in life forms and habitats over time
C. radioactive decay
D. subsistence by hunting and fishing
36. The technique of stratigraphic dating and the law of superposition were introduced by a scholar
A. Charles Darwin
B. Nicholas Steno
C. Alonso Stratigra
D. Willard Libby
37. Faunal correlation is a method used to date fossil localities through the use of:
A. radioactive isotopes
B. minute, male reproductive parts of plants
D. animal remains
38. The study of pollen grains is known as:
A. floral correlation
C. relative dating
39. Absolute dating techniques such as radiocarbon and potassium-argon dating are based on the fact
A. radioactive isotopes decay at a known rate
B. certain isotopes become more radioactive over time
C. the level of radioactivity is a constant
D. carbon 14 is present in all geological sediments
40. Which of the following materials could be dated directly using measurements of carbon 14?
A. ceramic figurines
B. polished stone axes
C. flint projectile points
D. textile mummy wrappings
41. Potassium-argon dating cannot be used to determine the age of:
A. deposits in which dinosaur bones have been found
B. projectile points made of chipped flint or obsidian
C. volcanic rocks
D. fossil localities
42. Fission-track dating is used to determine the age of:
A. fossilized human skeletons
B. petrified tree rings
C. organic materials
D. minerals that contain uranium
43. Dendrochronology is a technique that makes use of:
A. radioactive decay
B. changes in fauna over time
C. the law of superposition
D. variation in the growth rings of trees
44. The accuracy of radiocarbon dating has been vastly improved due to the independent dating of
samples by means of:
A. potassium-argon dates
D. faunal correlation
45. The assumption that the relative frequency of certain artifacts, attributes, or styles changed over time
in recognizable patterns is basic to dating by means of:
B. fossil correlation
46. The change in patterns on gravestones from New England cemeteries noted by archaeologist James
Deetz illustrates how:
A. social status is reflected in gravestone design
B. foreign designs are integrated into local traditions
C. artifact styles increase and decrease in popularity
D. urn-and-willow motifs give way to Death’s-head patterns
47. The work of German scholar Gustav Kossina demonstrates that:
A. archaeology can be used to reconstruct an objective past
B. interpretations of the past can be racist and ethnocentric
C. historical linguistics cannot be done without archaeology
D. civilization originated in central Europe
48. Recent archaeological research in South Africa has demonstrated that the ancestors of black South
A. were not present in the region until around the same time as the arrival of white settlers
B. occupied the region some 1,500 years before the initial European settlement
C. came from the north as migrating, Bantu-speaking farmers in the latter half of the eighteenth
D. are most closely related to the Australian aborigines
49. In archaeology, the validity of a particular interpretation is strengthened by:
A. the political convictions of the researcher
B. its relevance to current philosophies and concerns
C. confirmation through independent lines of evidence
D. its acceptance by the leading authorities in the field
50. The relative ages of bones can be measured from key elements found in fossil specimens called:
A. the FUN trio
C. carbon 14
D. the potassium-argon duo
51. Define the meanings of the following terms: archaeological site, artifact, feature, context. Give an
example of each and describe what human activities it represents.
52. What is meant by the term “historical archaeology”? Describe an example of a research project in
historical archaeology. What are the ways in which archaeological research can improve our
understanding of history?
53. What are the principal stages that you would include in an archaeological research plan? What are
the activities that you would undertake first? What are the most important parts of a field project?
What would you do with your results?
54. A great deal of archaeological information can be obtained without moving a single shovel of dirt.
Describe three different methods used by archaeologists to explore sites in the field that are not
dependent upon excavation.
55. What are the principal differences between relative and absolute dating? Discuss two methods each
of relative dating and absolute dating, describing the advantages and limitations of each.
56. Who would be the principal non-anthropologists with whom an archaeologist would plan a research
project or consult for additional information on the interpretation of remains? Why?
57. What are the principal reasons why archaeologists conduct excavations? What kind of information
can be recovered in an excavation that cannot be obtained in any other way? How can excavations
be used to reconstruct past lifeways?
58. Describe how the research undertaken by archaeologist Elizabeth Brumfiel has increased our
understanding of the role of women in Aztec society.
59. How does radiocarbon dating work? What are the oldest materials that can be dated by this method?
What are the kinds of materials that can and cannot be dated? What are some of the techniques that
are being used to make this type of dating more accurate?
Answer Key with Page Numbers
1. F 30
2. F 31
3. F 31
4. T 33
5. T 36
6. F 25
7. F 29
8. T 29
9. T 26
10. T 36
11. F 37
12. F 31
13. T 38
14. F 38
15. T 41
16. T 45
17. T 45
18. T 45
19. F 47
20. T 48
21. C 26
22. D 25
23. A 31
24. B 33
25. D 36
26. B 34
27. A 36
28. A 35
29. C 34
30. A 29
31. A 36
32. A 37
33. A 38
34. C 40
35. B 43
36. B 41
37. D 44
38. B 44
39. A 44
40. D 45
41. B 45
42. D 45
43. D 45
44. B 45
45. A 47
46. C 47
47. B 48
48. B 48
49. C 48
50. A 44