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Microarchaeology: Beyond the Visible Archaeological Record

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Overview

The archaeological record is a combination of what is seen by eye, as well as the microscopic record revealed with the help of instrumentation. The information embedded in the microscopic record can significantly add to our understanding of past human behavior, provided this information has not been altered by the passage of time. Microarchaeology seeks to understand the microscopic record in terms of the type of information embedded in this record, the materials in which this information resides, and the conditions under which a reliable signal can be extracted. This book highlights the concepts needed to extract information from the microscopic record. Intended for all archaeologists and archaeological scientists, it will be of particular interest to students who have some background in the natural sciences as well as archaeology. *Emphasizes the nature of the materials in which information is embedded and the problems associated with extracting a real signal. *Provides a comprehensive list of the types of information embedded in the microscopic archaeological record. *Offers an in-depth overview of the use of infrared spectroscopy for analyzing the microscopic record, the only one of its kind available.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I found [this book] so engaging and useful that I read it through with extreme care, rereading and highlighting key, passages, as if it were a textbook. It is a textbook, hopefully the first one in a new subfield, microarchaeology, that will become a required component of rigorous archaeology training at both the undergraduate and graduate level." —Hector Neff, Geoarchaeology:An International Journal

‘Informative, radical and challenging. Every scientist working in archaeology should read it.’ -TLS

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521880039
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2010
  • Pages: 414
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Weiner is Director of the Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. He is the author, with Heinz A. Lowenstam, of On Biomineralization and has published more than 300 scientific journal articles.

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Table of Contents

1. Archaeology, archaeological science and microarchaeology; 2. Information embedded in the microscopic record; 3. Completeness of the archaeological record; 4. Common mineral components of the archaeological record; 5. Biological materials: bones and teeth; 6. Biological materials: phytoliths, diatoms, eggshells, otoliths and mollusk shells; 7. Reconstructing pyrotechnological processes; 8. Biological molecules and macromolecules: protected niches; 9. Ethnoarchaeology of the microscopic record: learning from the present; 10. Absolute dating: assessing the quality of a date; 11. Reading the microscopic record on-site; 12. Infrared spectroscopy in archaeology.

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