archaeology anthropology scientific paper

For this paper you will need to:

  • Come up with a testable hypothesis.
  • Record surface data in a way that tests this hypothesis.
  • Write up your findings using 1200 words or more and the format given below.

Paper Topic Options (Choose One):

Option One:

Settle Patterns: Structure and Function

  1. Locate a modern public site near you that includes major architecture.
  2. Come up with a hypothesis about how the structure and configuration of this modern site can or can not be used to discover the function of similar ancient sites.
  3. For the modern site, find an aerial photo from an online search, such as, google, google maps, or google earth. Find out what the purpose of this site is? How is it used? What is its function?
  4. Now go online and find an ancient site with similar structures and configuration. Include a picture of this site as well. What is the name and location of your site? What is been discovered about the possible the purpose of this site?
  5. Compare these sites and discuss how structure and function are related. Was your hypothesis supported? Can modern settlement patterns successfully be used to interpret the past? Discuss this using processual and post-processual perspectives and what you know about the settlement patterns of bands, tribes, chiefdoms and states.
  6. Conclude with remarks on how you might expand this study if you were to continue it in the future.
  7. Cite your references!

Option Two:

Combine Majors

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  1. Combine your own major with archaeology for an analysis of archaeological sites. So, for example, if you are an art major you may want to study rock art. If you are a mathematician look for examples of evidence of ethnomathematics in the archaeological record.
  2. Do a preliminary study of archaeological examples, related to your major, from across the world.
  3. Come up with a hypothesis for any trends, correlations or meanings you expect to find.
  4. Expand your search to 10, or even 30 examples, if possible and appropriate for your topic.
  5. Discuss and analyze your data. Use drawings, photos, charts or tables where appropriate. Was your hypothesis supported? Were you able to draw any definite conclusions about your data? How might your findings be interpreted through the eyes of a processual archaeologist? Through the eyes of a post-processual archaeologist?
  6. Conclude your paper with remarks on how you might expand this research? Do you think a combined career is possible for you given your major?
  7. Cite your references!

Option Three:

On the Ground Surface Survey and Analysis:

  1. For this option you can survey, on foot, a prehistoric or historic site known to you or a modern site of your choice. This is a surface survey only. NO COLLECTING. Collecting of artifacts is a FEDERAL OFFENSE. If you select a prehistoric or historic site and disturb it in anyway you will be breaking the law. If you inadvertently disturb a burial you could do some SERIOUS JAIL TIME. Also, do not trespass; some owners will shoot first and ask questions later. However, if you can manage this project without breaking the law, it can be a lot of fun.
  2. Based on the site or modern location you have chosen, come up with a hypothesis about what you expect to find.
  3. Conduct a surface survey of the location by walking transects as discussed in class.
  4. Make a map of your site. This can be a sketch but it should be to scale, should include a scale and a compass direction. Anchor the map by describing roughly how far and in what direction it is from a permanent landmark. Remember that this is called the DATUM of the site; it can be a surveyors benchmark in the ground, a telephone pole, tree, large rock or other park bench, etc. If there is such a landmark within close proximity to the site, include it on your map.
  5. Discuss your site. Was your hypothesis supported? What did you find there? Were there features or artifacts? What did it tell you about the function of the site? How would the interpretation of the site differ if you looking at it in the perspective of a processual archaeologist verses a post-processual archaeologist? If you chose a prehistoric or historic site, do you think other researchers would come to a similar conclusion as you did? If you chose a modern site, do you think future archaeologists would have difficulty correctly assessing the function of the site?
  6. Conclude with remarks on how you might expand this study if you were to continue it in the future.
  7. Cite your references!

Paper Format:

IMPORTANT!! You must use the exact format below.


Briefly state your hypothesis here.

Included specific detail about the topic and what you expect to find.


How did you conduct your study? Google Earth or walking transects? What kind of data did you include? How far apart were your transects if you did surface survey?


Summarize your results here. Include a written description of your data here. Include photos, charts, tables, or maps when appropriate.


What do your data mean?

This should be the main part of your paper. Include the following: Was your hypothesis supported? Was it disproved? Were your data inconclusive? Why or why not? What previously done research supports your findings? Cite references using (author, year) whenever used.

Concluding remarks:

Briefly state the end result of your study. Make suggestions for further research.

List of References (1 point):

Cite all references: You should have at least 3 additional references. These references should be from a professional anthropology, archaeology, or science journals/websites.