Behavior observation project
What you do: You observe some human behavior, selected to give you something interesting to discuss. You notice what material evidence this behavior leaves that future archaeologists might find. To do this, you might consider questions like: What material things are involved? What happens to them as a result? Which (if any) get into the archaeological record, and if they do, how, when, where, in what condition, and associated with what other things? How much of the evidence likely to be preserved after a few days, years, or centuries?
Then you consider how an archaeologist might interpret the evidence, and how well he or she might be able to reconstruct the behavior. For this, you might consider questions like: Could this particular instance of the behavior be reconstructed from the archaeological record? Could the existence of this behavior in general be reconstructed from the combined evidence of many occurrences? What specific low-level and middle-range arguments or theories might the archaeologist use to interpret this evidence? What aspects might he or she be likely to reconstruct correctly, what aspects would probably go unnoticed, and what aspects might be reconstructed incorrectly? Why?
You do this twice: once with behavior that could be at least partially reconstructed from the resulting evidence, and once with behavior that would be difficult or impossible to reconstruct.
Feel free to be creative about the behaviors you select!
What you turn in: You turn in a 2-3 page essay or report describing your observations, conclusions, and the reasoning behind them. Your description does not have to be encyclopedically detailed; insightful is better than exhaustive. It is OK to devote more than half of the paper to the reconstructable behavior, since you will probably have more to discuss about it. The length is just a suggestion - but I won't read more than 4 pages.
Due date: Tuesday, September 17
Lateness policy: I accept assignments up to one week late with a 15% penalty.
Grading: 10% of the course grade (100 points out of 1000).