Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Advances in Archaeological Practice: A Journal of the Society for American Archaeology

"a peer-reviewed journal that seeks to share solutions in the broad practice of archaeology. Launched in 2013, the full-color digital journal is published four times per year. The journal publishes original articles that present creative solutions to the challenges archaeologists face in the ways that they approach the archaeological record to learn about the past and manage archaeological resources. “Practice” is defined broadly and topics can include, but are not limited to, innovations in approach, technique, method, technology, business models, collaboration, compliance, process, ethics, theory, public engagement, and training. The journal is a benefit of membership in the Society for American Archaeology (SAA)."

  • A Non-Destructive Method for Dating Human Remains by Warren K. Lail, David Sammeth, Shannon Mahan, and Jason Nevins
    • Vol 1, Number 2, November 2013. 91-103.
    • "The skeletal remains of several Native Americans were recovered in an eroded state from a creek bank in northeastern New Mexico. Subsequently stored in a nearby museum, the remains became lost for almost 36 years. In a recent effort to repatriate the remains, it was necessary to fit them into a cultural chronology in order to determine the appropriate tribe(s) for consultation pursuant to the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Because the remains were found in an eroded context with no artifacts or funerary objects, their age was unknown. Having been asked to avoid destructive dating methods such as radiocarbon dating, the authors used Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) to date the sediments embedded in the cranium. The OSL analyses yielded reliable dates between A.D. 1415 and A.D. 1495. Accordingly, we conclude that the remains were interred somewhat earlier than A.D. 1415, but no later than A.D. 1495. We believe the remains are from individuals ancestral to the Ute Mouache Band, which is now being contacted for repatriation efforts. Not only do our methods contribute to the immediate repatriation efforts, they provide archaeologists with a versatile, non-destructive, numerical dating method that can be used in many burial contexts."

    • A Tomb with a View: New Methods for Bridging the Gap between Land and Sky in Megalithic Archaeology by Fabio Silva
      • Vol 2, Number 1, February 2014. 24-37.
      • "The orientations of European prehistoric structures have been studied independently by landscape archaeologists and archaeoastronomers. Despite their similar interests, the two fields have failed to converge primarily because of their differing epistemologies. This paper argues that archaeology has much to gain by integrating the two fields to provide a fuller and more balanced exploration and understanding of the location and orientation of the European megaliths. It is suggested that prehistoric archaeoastronomy needs to become more grounded on the archaeological record and context of the prehistoric structures it studies. If it is to generate knowledge of value to archaeology it needs to become a “skyscape archaeology.” This paper looks at current archaeoastronomical approaches through the lens of archaeological practice. It identifies some limitations and discusses how landscape archaeology can inform archaeoastronomy on overcoming them. A methodology that attempts this necessary cross-fertilization, by shedding unfounded assumptions and developing a more phenomenological approach to pattern-recognition, is proposed. This methodology is applied to a case study in central Portugal. The emergent narrative, linking a cluster of dolmens to a local mountain range and the star Aldebaran, not only fits the archaeological record, but is mirrored by local folklore, lending further support to the validity of this methodology."
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