Anthropology and Archeology

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One of the most significant archaeologists of the 20th century was Lewis Binford. The publication of Archeology as Anthropology in the American Antiquity journal assisted Binford in creating a paradigm that is still in use today. The author pointed out that anthropology and archaeology are related. Modern archaeologists consider Binford's discoveries to be "processual archaeology," which gave rise to the Binfordian School of ideas for approaching archeological challenges from a scientific standpoint. Lewis opened his paper on "Archeology as Anthropology" by fervently defending the processual approach to archeological inquiry. The methods use observation and hypothesis testing, such as scientific procedures, the hypothetico-deductive paradigm, and logic positivism. Earlier archaeologists who came before Binford notably Philips Philip and Gordon Willey in 1958 supported the arguments that archaeology in America is anthropology.

Lewis Binford explicated as well as explained the material record. For example, observing a particular archeological site may indicate migration of an individual culture. However, the big challenge is to give details of the reasons that led to the movement (Binford 217). The how and whys in archaeology require a holistic analysis approach in the scrutiny of artifacts within site. Archeologists compare and contrast artifacts found to the different locations or periods of similar social-demographic and environmental pressures. These conclusions led to the assertions that archeologists have the capability of formulating and testing hypotheses thus comfortably make predictions.

The author viewed artifacts within material records as unstructured or undifferentiated. However, the observations are insufficient to make conclusions thus need a systematic and understandable method to portray what led to the extinction of a particular cultural system. Scientific methodologies would play an integral role in the provision of data that explains the evolution of culture. The author was dead set against simple equating material culture to technological advancement.

In the paper, Lewis Binford proposed and categorized formal stylistic attributes. The classes of artifacts include Technomic, Social-technic, and Ideo-technic (Binford 220). The primary classes have stylistic characteristics that promote group awareness and identity. Such styles include the Greek black or red Motifs appearing in the various ceramic vessels which are an expression of functional contexts.

Interesting Part of the Reading

The most striking thing about the paper is the ability of the author to make the assertions and beliefs about archeology in future. The article states that the objects can and always change meaning over time. This makes their interpretations all that much more enlightening. At the same time, the objects are vital to the archaeological enterprise. In coming years, there should be detailed information about occurrences. The author manages to offer great examples such as Old Copper Complex methods of archeology in finding answers to questions that have scientific aspects (Binford 220). Binford was graceful in demonstrating and explanations that supersede the obvious. The author followed the egalitarian societies transformation process that included population increase and competition for status. He explains to the readers that it was inefficient and uneconomical to create copper tools without material recycling. The article is a demonstration of how the cultures do not rework or recycle copper tools as many of them appear not reparable. Moreover, many of the copper goods in archeological records are part of burial goods.


Reading the article Archaeological as Anthropology is a difficult task. The readers cannot easily grasp the writing probably due to poor prose and propositions. However, it creates ways that help readers gain entry into the meaningfully constituted world of the past. Archaeology as Anthropology is a big leap for all interested in finding the relationship between the two concepts.

Clearing the Antechamber


The Egyptian had unique tombs, especially for their rulers (Pharaohs) whom they perceive as gods. After Pharaohs’ death, the people preserved the bodies before burial. The bodies of the king were buried in well-prepared tombs that contained precious treasures that accompanied the ruler to the afterlife. Archeologists arrived in Egypt in the 19th century and discovered several burying chambers. However, robbers broke into the tombs and left with the riches (Carter, Howard and Mace 62). One of the archeologists was Howard Carter who first arrived in Egypt in 1981 and discovered a burial chamber. Howards found a chamber tomb for an ancient Egyptian King named Tutankhamen or King Tut at Thebes.

Findings at the Antechamber

Carter first arrived in Egypt with the belief that there was still at least one tomb that remained undiscovered. Carter and the team of archaeologist searched for a tomb belonging to a king who died at his teenage. Not much is known about King Tut who ruled between 1332-1323 B.C. Carter was unsuccessful in the first attempt despite getting support from Lord Carnarvon (Carter, Howard and Mace 60). Lord Carnarvon had given up, but Carter managed to convince him to wait for just another year. In the same year, Carter and the team found hidden steps that led to another tomb. In this new tomb, they found a name written on it-Tutankhamen. The doorway was sealed, and Lord Carnarvon and Carter had to break it so that they could proceed to the tomb’s interior. The tomb was intact with its treasures which were about 3000 years old.

The tomb had four chambers and more led to insightful findings. The team of archeologist continued to expand over the few days that resulted in the opening of the last chamber. The chambers had a sarcophagus containing coffins nested within each other. Out of the three coffins lay the mummified body believed to of the teenage King Tutankhamen. The Ancient community made the coffin using solid gold. The tomb had treasures including weapons, a chariot, jewelry, Iron Dagger Blade and golden shrines (Carter, Howard and Mace 59). The most intriguing thing was the mummy perfectly preserved. It was so valuable because it was the first to have ever been discovered. Rumor had it that whoever disturbed the tomb would be cursed. However, the archeologist cataloged the treasures and removed them from the site. Today, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo has the exhibition named the Treasures of Tutankhamen where tourists get to learn about ancient Egypt and its rulers.

Interesting Part of the Reading

The fascinating thing was the antechamber which was the biggest of the four rooms. It contained religious and secular objects. There were life-size statues that face each other that acted as guards to the sealed doorway. There were thousands of items that took weeks to remove and record them. It would require years of treatment and study in laboratories before the pieces left the Valley of the Kings (Carter, Howard and Mace 59). From the reading, I agree that the clothing had become sheets of dust and beads formed meaningless heaps after rotting of the threading string.

The Pharaoh Akhenaten was Tut’s predecessor had changed worshiping pantheon gods religion to a single cult worship of the sun of god Aten. The discoveries in the tomb raise crucial questions in regards to Tut predecessors in Egyptian history. What features of the tomb did other buried figures or rulers have? Other mysteries about Tut and his family remain unanswered.


The findings at Thebes received a worldwide media coverage thus elevated Egyptian archeology to another level. Many other archaeologists arrived in Egypt and wanted to learn more ancient Egypt people, culture and kings. Hundreds of items accompanied King's Tut mummy which remained intact. The Archaeologist collected the items and took them to the museums for safe storage. The Tutankhamen’s mask is an artifact at the Egyptian Museum that continues to a popular symbol.

Works Cited

Binford, Lewis R. Archaeology As Anthropology. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1962. Print pp. 217-225

Carter, Howard, and A C. Mace. The Tomb of Tutankhamun: Volume 1. , 2014. Pdf

April 13, 2023
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