Archaeology is - The discovery, recovery, and study of material evidence or artifacts (i.e. structures, tools, clothing, implements and burial sites in various states of preservation) of past human life and culture
The methodology used in Archaeology can be effectively demonstrated through the discovery of Otzi the Iceman and the sequential processes involved in analysing Otzi.
Otzi was one of the most significant discoveries in Archaeology. To start with he was the oldest human mummy in Europe and certainly one of the oldest well preserved mummies in the world. Otzi's discovery has also shaken the foundations of knowledge for his time period (Chalcolithic Age) thus changing our perception of his time. Otzi was discovered by two hikers, Helmut and
Erika Simon, on the Similaun Glacier (border of Austria and Italy) on September, 1991. He was half buried in ice with only his head sticking out of the ground.
The study and discovery of Otzi will help demonstrate the archaeological concepts and processes involved in Excavation, Preservation and Dating techniques.
[...] This is dependent on the nature and age of the object in question. These methods include stratigraphical dating, X rays, Radio Carbon dating and DNA testing. However in the case of Otzi only a few of these techniques can be utilized. For instance, stratigraphical dating would be inappropriate as the ice shelves in the Alps are constantly moving and so they bear no resemblance to the ice formed when Otzi died, the fact that Otzi survived is pure luck. On the other hand, DNA testing, typology and Radiocarbon dating are very relevant to the issue of dating Otzi. [...]
[...] Overall, Otzi's dating tested various methods of dating and even helped prove that scientific dating methods such as Radiocarbon Dating and Palaeobotany can be much more accurate then methods such as the three age system which relies purely on theoretical knowledge Conclusion The discovery of Otzi is one of the most significant archaeological finds in history. Otzi's mummified corpse not only redefined our knowledge on the earliest use of copper but also demonstrated how inaccurate relative dating techniques can be. [...]
[...] After the poorly executed excavation, scientists were very keen to properly conserve what was left of Otzi's body and artefacts. After only 24 hours there was mould growing on Otzi's body and this had to be wiped away with an acid. Otzi was maintained carefully in a regulated chamber. The temperature was kept at a constant 21.2 the body itself was kept constantly on an electronic scale. This enabled scientists to constantly observe the rate of deterioration of the body. [...]
[...] On the day of excavation (23rd, September, 1991), Otzi was stuck in a 60 100 cm thick layer of ice. The initial excavation was far from careful. However this was partly due to the fact that they had no idea as to how old Otzi was. They believed that he was another modern mountain climber who had frozen to death and their main concern was to remove him. The ski resort which used the slopes for skiing were quite keen to get rid of the body and even attempted to cover it up by putting a black plastic bag over Otzi's protruding head and then burying it in snow. [...]
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