Anthropology 3
Brian M. Fagan

Excavating Archaeological Sites

Anthropology 3
Exercise 3-1
George H. Michaels and Brian M. Fagan
© The Regents of the University of California -- 1997-2013


This assignment is designed to give you a taste of excavating an archaeological site and interpreting those findings. For this exercise you should draw on your readings, the Study Guide, and Exercise 2-1. In this assignment you will return to the beach site at Coal Oil Point first introduced in Exercise 2-1. This time however, you will be asked to excavate the site, take notes on the contents of the site and answer several interpretive questions based on your excavations.

Welcome Back to Coal Oil Point!

In the space below you will find an interactive model of a small beach site. The upper level of this site is vey recent, but there is a lower level to the site for which you will have to determine the date. To get information about artifacts, simply click on the artifact and hold the mous button down. A pop-up field will provide you with information on the artifact. When you have made notes of the artifacts and relationships between the artifacts for the upper level, you may proceed to excavate to the lower level. When you are ready to continue, scroll down the page to the questions that are posed.

You will be prompted to interpret the site with a number of questions. If you wish you may pull down on the Apple Menu and launch the simple word processor "SimpleText". With SimpleText open, you can copy the questions from this web page and paste them into SimpleText. Once you have pasted the questions into SimpleText, you can then type your ansers to the questions in SimpleText. You may then either print the questions and answers in the lab, or you may save your work to a floppy disk, and finish your answers on your home workd processing program. As an alternative, after you have made notes about the site, just as you would in the field, you may click on the hot spot provided at the end of this exercise to bring up a page that contains just the questions whic can then be printed. You may then take the questions and your notes home to finish your assignment.

Question 1.
What general activity do you think took place here during the episode represented by Level 1? Explain why you think so.
Question 2.
What specific activities took place here during the Level 1 occupation? Explain your answers by giving the evidence for your interpretation.
Question 3.
What elements of the Level 1 component would you take special samples of and why?
Question 4.
What elements of the Level 1 component do you think warrant recording before artifact collection takes place? How would you record this information?
Question 5.
What are the elements of the assemblage from the upper component?
Question 6.
Which artifacts from the upper component do you think would be the best time markers and why?
Question 7.
What are the elements of the assemblage from the lower component? How is it different from the upper component?
Question 8.
What makes the lower level a different component from the surface level? Be specific.


You have now completed the computer portion of this assignment. We hope that you found it enjoyable and informative. At this point you should check your notes to make certain that you have all of the information you need to answer the questions completely. If you would like to have a printed copy of the questions, click here, and then choose "Print Frame..." under the File Menu.