The study of ancient objects and artifacts is often a key part of archaeology. Elaborate artwork and objects created by skilled craftspeople are often used as key symbols for ancient civilizations. Beyond just their imagery and iconography, these objects provide insight into their affiliated culture through the materials and techniques used to produce them and the contexts in which they were used and disposed. In this paper I would like you to visit the Dallas Museum of Art and describe a piece of material culture on display at the Arts of the Americas permanent installation (Mesoamerican artifacts only).
I would like you to choose an artifact from the Mesoamerican collections on display, take field notes on it, make a sketch of it, and take a photo. If we are unable to visit the DMA together a virtual visit will be arranged for the same day. During your visit – NOTES: While at the museum, you will want to record the following characteristics: Type of artifact: For example, sculpture, bowl, figurine, adornment, mask, etc. Time Period: Date range and period for artifact style (usually located on associated plaque) Culture: What culture created this artifact (., Maya, Olmec, Aztec, Toltec, etc.) Provenance: Where was it found (or where do they think it comes from; sometimes unknown but give your educated guess) Material:
What is it made of, if multiple materials, record all (if known) Size: Give approximate metric measurements (very general; archaeologists use the metric system) Sketch: All important finds should be sketched in the field (to the best of your abilities) Photo: The DMA allows photos without flash, so please take at least one photo you can include in your paper. Supplies needed: Field notebook (at least some paper) or smart phone or pad Pencil (or if you can draw on your pad that is fine, too) Camera/smart phone to take a photo Assignment (the paper): Using the concepts of “contexts” and the cultures we discuss throughout this class to answer the following questions in at least 4 full page double spaced formal essay.
Make sure that you have a clear organization for your essay, with a thesis/main statement in your introduction, well-organized body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Rely on your textbook, in-class readings, and at least THREE (3) scholarly outside sources to provide information about the artifact and the culture/civilization associated with it. You may also use lecture materials in addition to your textbook and outside source (cite it as the class. Example: (Class 1AM).) In your formal essay be sure to: Describe the artifact. What is the size, materials, form, etc.
Where is this artifact from? Give a brief description of the culture, its location, and the time period it existed in (give dates). You may use your textbook or your outside source for this. CITE ALL INFORMATION whether it is from an outside source, the textbook, or lecture. Describe the artifact in relation to archaeological, chronological, use, symbolic meaning, and spatial contexts. This can include its production, use, and/or discard (where are they typically found archaeologically?). Also discuss if they had a very specific function or symbolic meaning within the culture(s) they were created and used.
This assignment may also require some outside reading in the case of determining the object’s use and spatial contexts. Properly cite your article(s) with an in-text citation. What is the overall importance of the artifact and its context? Was this artifact part of daily use or was it rarer and more restricted? Is the function and/or importance under debate? Is there something about this artifact that provides more insight into the culture it’s associated with than was known before? (This may be part of your conclusion if you wish) Bibliography: You MUST provide in-text citations showing me where you got your data/information.
These must include, the author’s last name(s), the year of publication (if the style you’re using requires it), and the page number (occasionally the page number can be left out if it is a very general concept that you are using). Typically, in archaeology we use American Antiquity style (see SAA style guide on Canvas) but if you are more comfortable with MLA or Chicago or APA/ASA, you may use one of those instead. Whichever style you use, be sure to be consistent. Provide a link to your artifact on the DMA website in your bibliography. Submission: Submit a copy of your notes and any drawings and/or pictures you have of the object. Submit your essay with works cited page. Your essay must be a minimum of 4 full pages of text double spaced, not including images or your works cited page. Combine all of the above into a pdf or word document if possible and submit to Canvas by 11:59pm on Tuesday January 11th. If you cannot combine it into a single file you may submit each individually.
Technical Requirements: Papers must be at least 4 full pages (typed, double-spaced, 12 pt. font; does not include images or headings). Cite references in-text and include a bibliography/works cited at the end of the essay, including only cited references (not part of the 4 pages). If you do not reference the source in-text (with a citation) then it should not be in your works cited page and it will not count toward your required sources. You may use your textbooks and additional readings as sources, but you must also complete outside research.
Please use at least 3 outside resources (that we did not read for class). In the copy you turn in, include your original field notes, sketch, and photo. Submit your papers via Canvas no later than 11:59pm on Tuesday, January 11th. A Note on Sources: Regarding websites, if they are not academic, do not use them in your paper – they are not reliable (with the exception of the DMA website). If a website does not end with .edu it is likely not legit. In very few cases will “.coms” or even “.orgs” be accepted. The DMA online catalog has useful information, images, and links on all artifacts if you need additional information: to an external site.
. The to an external site. website is another exception to the above rule, they have a bibliografia mesoamericana, under “research” then “bibliographies”, that you can search for other publications on your topic. Another approved website is to an external site.. You may look to websites to find academic sources that you can then search out at the library or library online databases to use. The SMU library discovery search and Google Scholar (not regular google) are good places to start. Examples of Citation Styles in Archaeology: Consult the Society for American Archaeology Style Guide (or me) for help: to an external site.
. The following are examples of an appropriate use of in-text citations: According to Carneiro (1984:54)….. Carneiro (1984) argues…. Some scholars present theories for the rise of ancient civilizations (Carneiro 1984; Flannery 1989). The following are examples of an appropriate use of bibliographic citations: Books: Carmack, Robert 1981 The Quiche Maya of Utatlan. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. Articles: Carmean, Kelli 1991 Architectural labor investment and social stratification at Sayil, Yucatan, Mexico. Latin American Antiquity 2(2):151-165. Chapters in edited volumes: Carrasco, Pablo 1983 Some Theoretical Considerations about the Role of the Market in Ancient Mexico. In Economic Anthropology:
Topics and Theories, edited by S. Ortiz, pp. 62-82. University Press of America, Lanham. Website: Taube, Karl, Zachary X. Hruby, and Luis Romero 2006 Jadeite Sources and Ancient Workshops: Archaeological Reconnaissance in the Upper Río El Tambor, Guatemala. Report submitted to the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc., to an external site., accessed 23 June, 2006. Late Assignments: Also, please note that late papers will only be accepted with an approved excused absence and will be marked down one letter grade for each day. In other words, a B will become a B-, then a C+.
This is an important policy as it would be unfair to others who could also have benefited from more time. Late papers after January 14th cannot be accepted due to the cutoff for grade submissions as required by Inter Sessions and the university.