Anthropology 292, Laboratory Methods in Archaeology

Fall 2003

Class Times: MW 2:00 to 5:10 pm.

Instructor: Dr. Robert M. Yohe II

Office Hours:TR 2:00 to 4:00 . or by appointment

Office: CC216 (phone 664-357)

Laboratory Hours: MW 9:00 am. to 2:00 pm. (lab phone is 664-3440)

Required Text: Archaeological Laboratory Methods (3nd Ed.) by Sutton and Arkush


The purpose of this course is to provide a basic introduction to laboratory methods in archaeology. There are a large number of such methods, most of which are conducted by specialists and are beyond the practicality of this class. However, we will cover and practice basic lab methods such as cataloging, identification, description, and classification of artifacts and ecofacts.

I will lecture on various aspects of lab analyses, on special topics, and on general procedure. For the first few weeks we will be cataloguing artifacts excavated by past field classes. After that, you will have your paper topics selected and will work on those projects during class. We may also have a number of guest lectures.


Grading will be based on attendance (200 pts.), a research paper proposal (20 pts.), a research paper (200 pts.), a final exam (100 pts.), and my personal opinion of how hard you worked in class (100 pts.), a total of 620 points.

1. Attendance is worth 200 points. Fifty (50) points will be deducted for each missed class meeting (I am aware of some scheduling problems, talk to me). Be prompt if you want credit for your time, I very much dislike people wandering in late or leaving early. The lab class is designed to provide training and experience in lab methods, it is not the social hour so please keep social behavior to a minimum. Absolutely no food or drinks are allowed in the lab.

2. The research paper (200 points) will consist of an original analysis of some archaeological materials (artifacts, ecofacts, etc.) that you deal with in the lab setting. Library work also will be required to complete a good paper. A written proposal (worth 20 points) for your paper is due on October 10, 2003. It will be returned to you with comments and suggestions. The 20 points will be awarded upon timely submission, the proposal is not graded for content. More than one author can work on the paper. The paper is due on November 17, 2003. If you wish to turn in a draft early, I will comment on it, return it to you, and you can revise it. This will result in a better paper (and a higher grade).


3. The final exam will be worth 100 points and will consist of a combination of objective (true-false, multiple choice, etc.) and subjective (essay) sections, split about 50-50. YOU MUST USE A BLUE BOOK. The exam will emphasize the readings and will be given on Nov. 21.

While incompletes will be given if needed (as is often the case), they are not encouraged. Make sure you look at the class schedule for the various rules and dates regarding withdrawal from courses.


Each class session will begin and end on time. I do not appreciate people coming into class late or leaving early, particularly when I am lecturing. It is distracting to me and to the students who were there on time. If there is a special arrangement to be made, talk to me. I reserve the right to lower your grade if this becomes a problem.


Week Topic Chapter

1 Introduction and the Nature of Archaeological Data 1, 2

2 The Catalog 3

3 Artifact Analysis: Flaked Stone 4

4 Artifact Analysis: Ground Stone 5

5 Artifact Analysis: Ceramics, Shell and Bone, Perishables, Historical 6 - 9

6 Ecofact Analysis: Faunal Remains 10

7 Ecofact Analysis: Botanical Remains 11

8 Human Remains 12

9 Special Analyses 13

10 Reporting 14 - 15,

Appendix 1

Anthropology 292

Fall 2003


Your research paper will report original research with original archaeological data. The primary thing that I look at in grading these papers is a demonstration that you put effort into the research. If you can show that you did the work, you will get a good grade. The format for the research paper is listed in detail in Appendix 1 of the text. I may be flexible in allowing an alternative to a traditional research paper for some students (nonmajors).


I encourage Anthropology majors, particularly the archaeology people, to present their papers at the Society for California Archaeology meetings next year (early April). Discuss this with me.


Plagiarism (look it up) is a very serious offense. Using published or unpublished material without citing the source is plagiarism. You may use the material of others if you enclose it in quotation marks and reference precisely its source. Such material, however, should be used sparingly. Simply paraphrasing material of someone else by minimal rearrangement of the wording also is plagiarism. It is an equally serious offense if you write a paper for someone else, or copy the work of another, or allow someone to copy your work. In all cases, this is cheating. Plagiarism and cheating result automatically in a grade of F. University regulations require also that a letter be entered into the student's file regarding the infraction, and any second offense will lead to dismissal from the University.


The following suggestions are selected from Moss and Holder (1982).

1. Plan before you write. Your essay should start with a thesis sentence that answers the question directly and states the conclusion you have come to after thinking about the question. Feel free to jot down (on the back of an exam page, for example) a brief outline of the major points you will use to support your thesis.

2. Write the essay, following your outline. Though your essay should be factual, you may not have enough time to write all the details you know. Therefore, you must be selective. Choose those facts, details, examples, or other points that will best support your thesis.

3. Keep your thesis in mind as you write. Time is short so do not allow yourself to be distracted by a side issue. Everything you include should be pertinent to answering the question and supporting your thesis. Do not include irrelevant information just in the hopes that it will show that you know something.

4. Proofread your essays at the end of the exam period. It is easy to misspell even simple words, to omit letters or words and to construct sentences with incorrect grammar when you are writing under pressure. Make any corrections or additions neatly.

Moss, A., and C. Holder

1982 Improving Student Writing: A Guidebook for Faculty in all Disciplines: Pomona, CA: Graphics Communications Service of CSU Pomona.