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The Archaeology of your Dorm Room

Written Assignment 1: The Archaeology of your dorm room

Requirements: Times New Roman, 1” margins, 1.5 line spacing, 4 pages +1 map, 1 inventory of objects in room, 1 inventory of objects in trashcan.

Description: Your task is to analyze your room using systematic archaeological techniques. No, you can put the shovel away-you are going to use non-destructive techniques to interpret your room on the basis of material remains and their spatial arrangement.

You will write up a report using all the items listed below. Reflect on what these remains tell you about the inhabitant of the room. Is there anything revealed by this analysis that you did not notice before? Are there any important things that were invisible to this kind of analysis? Finally, be sure to include an introduction and a conclusion to your report and follow the specs below.

Introduction:
A.)Situating Self: Introduce how much you know about the culture of a WSU student. Are you an alien archaeologist from 1000’s of years in the future excavating a human site?
Are you someone your grandchild’s age who has a good understanding of what a college is and the people who occupied it. This part is largely up to you. Be creative but you must tell me.
B.) Taphonomy: How well preserved is your dorm room? The answer to this question should somewhat correlate with the amount of time it has been abandoned for, so think about this as you construct your introduction. Was it perfectly preserved like Pompei, or rather are we only left with hard non-biodegradable artifacts?

1.)Map your archaeological site:
Make a map of your room. What is the layout? Where are things located? Map in the walls, doors, furniture or anything else you think may be important. This doesn’t have to be millimeter exact but try make it to scale. A tape measurer is recommended. How does the context help you interpret the a

2.) Artifact Inventory:
Inventory the articles in your room (you might want to use a sampling strategy so you don’t have to inventory thousands of articles, but be sure to tell us what your sampling strategy is). Plot them on your map, identify any activity areas, be sure to support your interpretation with material artifacts-not just your own knowledge of what you do where.

3.) Artifact Analysis:
What do you think these objects are and what were they used for? What do they meant to the people that used them. You must use logic to make these deductions based on the objects themselves. If something comes from a prior knowledge of the culture than you must construct how you know this in your narrative in the introduction.

4.) Midden analysis:
Inventory your trash can. What’s in there (of the items that preserved)? What do the contents say about you (your gender, ethnicity, your fraternity or sorority, the kinds of trade used by the society you live in)?

5.) Subsistence analysis: What evidence is there of food in your room? Left-over pizza boxes, rotting mac and cheese? Or not a crumb in site? Is there a “hearth” or area to prepare and cook food? Based on the kind of food you find, speculate on where this food comes from? Read the labels on your food: How might it be informative about long distance trade?

6.) Social complexity: Step back and take a look at the overall contents and arrangement of your room. How is it informative about the social complexity of the society in which you live with respect to craft specialization, long distance trade, writing, accounting systems, social hierarchy and stratification etc.? What do the labels say about where stuff was from? How far distance trade would humans have to engage in to get the artifacts in your room?

Conclusion: Be sure to conclude with stating what types of things were invisible to your analysis. What kinds of things that you know about were not apparent through a simple analysis of your material culture? What things did this analysis capture?

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Category: Sample Questions