My knowledge in the areas of archaeology and anthropology are very limited, and I do not have many detailed preconceptions about either. I know that there is a difference between archaeology and anthropology, but I am not sure where the distinction exists. I believe that archaeology is a rather broad subject, including all different aspects of using historic findings to learn about the past. Whether about ancient civilizations, more recent civilizations, or the interactions between humans or between humans and animals, I believe archaeology includes this all. I believe that excavation sites are used to discover artifacts of all types, which give us clues toward discovering our past. I am unsure if these preconceptions are true, but I am excited to find out.
The project along the Colorado River is an example of the approaches established in today’s archaeological culture. One of the main differences from early historic archaeology that I observed in this video is the careful planning and consideration that went in to the excavation. As seen in areas of the lecture videos, early archaeology was not as carefully planned, and many seemed to occur without the full consent by the people living there, or the consideration for those to whom the area used to belong. This Colorado River project was approved by many different groups with ties to the area, and an entire process for approval had to be completed before the excavation could take place. Also, the project was well organized and systematic, which differs from some early methods. Earlier digs did not give as careful consideration in to collecting only what is required, digging in only the necessary areas, and preserving the area after project completion. It was impressive how much care was given to this project and the land around it, specifically how they replaced the land that was disturbed after completion. I am sure that another variance in this project compared to early archaeological projects was the research that took place prior to excavation. The amount of knowledge that is publicly available today far exceeds the capabilities of documentation in earlier time periods, so the archaeologists were much better prepared in how to handle the site, who to ask for approval, and what to look for at the site. Additionally, the knowledge gained by this excavation is not limited to the archaeologists who participated. The information can be shared to the existing people who are interested in documenting their culture, to other archaeologists interested in similar cultures, and to the public who want to study or learn more about the area. The project was also made accessible to the public to gain a better understanding of archaeology; the processes involved and the reasons behind the excavation. I thought that this aspect of the project was very important since it raises a true awareness of what archaeologists do and why it is important. As is clear by most of the students taking the course, the public does not have a clear understanding of archaeology and without this knowledge public support is weakened. Media often depicts an image of dangerous, and somewhat destructive excavations through popular adventure movies, and this is clearly far from the truth. Proper education through seeing real excavation sites helps to eliminate this false image. One similarity that I did think was worth noting, however, was the use of manual labor and hand tools to execute the dig. This again shows how much care was taken for the surrounding land, as machines would have disturbed surrounding areas.