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Old 07-19-2004, 10:07 AM   #1
Indyologist
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Archeology in the 1920's-30's

Due to today's technology, excavation and other archeological methods have changed a LOT. What was different about archeology in the 20's-30's? What would Indy have done to conduct a dig before the techology we have today? What methods did he use that were different from today just because of earliness of the era?

For example, how would Indy determine the age of a find back in the 20's-30's? Was carbon dating used back then? If not, what would he have used to calculate the age of an artifact?

Please speak in layman's terms in your reply if you're a professional, if you would be so kind.

Thank you in advance for your answers!
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Old 07-19-2004, 10:34 AM   #2
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Dr. Jones would use the same methods on modern day than he used while on the 30's:

Trotyle.

P.S. Thanks for that, Dr. Lavento.

Last edited by Finn : 07-22-2004 at 08:10 AM.
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Old 07-19-2004, 12:50 PM   #3
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Indyologist, trotyle is a High Explosive often used in military applications for the complete and utter devastation of anything around it when it detonates.

Right Finn?
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Old 07-19-2004, 01:24 PM   #4
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Good description. Something like that.
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Old 07-20-2004, 07:11 AM   #5
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Somehow, I don't think that answers my question! I can't imagine Indy, who IS a professional, blowing up a dig site helter skelter. He would be as careful as possible about preserving the dig site, doing as little damage as he could.

Serious answers only, please.
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Old 07-20-2004, 07:42 AM   #6
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"Fire in the hole!"

*boom*

"Okay, guys... at least now it looks like these pieces have been through something."
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Old 07-21-2004, 02:33 PM   #7
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I reckon they'd have relied a lot on string, measuring tapes and mathematics, rather than lasers and stuff (as in Electronic Distance Measurers (EDMs)).

Plus these days we have waterproof paper for making site plans, etc - think of all the work that might have been ruined by a sudden downpour in the past!

Carbon dating wasn't around until the 1950s, so dates were worked out by artefact typology (stone before metal, simple before complex...), stratigraphy (older artefacts deeper underground...), and historical research. Dendrochronology (tree ring dating) might have been used in the 20s and 30s - I'm not sure when that was introduced.
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Old 07-21-2004, 03:24 PM   #8
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Andrew Douglass,an astonomer,came up with dendrochronology around 1900 or so,if I remember correctly.
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Old 07-21-2004, 06:24 PM   #9
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Now, growth rings are formed by wet and dry seasons, correct?
So if there was a drought in that region, or a few extremely wet years,
would that make dendrochronology inaccurate even to a degree of many years?
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Old 07-22-2004, 09:40 AM   #10
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Well,it's an absolute dating process,so you're not going to get an exact date anyway.But,since we know that drier years produce thinner rings,while moist years produce thicker ones,and since similar conditions will produce similar growth patterns within the same species,I think the system will provide for a fairly accurate estimation.

Last edited by TombReader : 07-22-2004 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 07-23-2004, 12:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tennessee R
Now, growth rings are formed by wet and dry seasons, correct?
So if there was a drought in that region, or a few extremely wet years,
would that make dendrochronology inaccurate even to a degree of many years?

If you knew what year/s the drought was/were, you'd have a pretty accurate way of dating something from that region!

Varve analysis is another dating technique that was around in the 20s and 30s, but I couldn't tell you how widely it was used.

All techniques have their problems, and, depending on the age of the artefact, getting a date within 10,000 years can be good going...
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Old 07-24-2004, 07:41 PM   #12
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Personally I think that one of the biggest differences between archaeology back then and now is the fact that back then it truly was more glamorous, adventurous, and sensational.

With an apology to today's archaeologists, I think that the science has become a bit more dull and boring, simply BECAUSE of the great advances in technology.

Modern archaeology is a victim of its own advances.

But another aspect is that due to the technological advances a lot of theories are being (pardon the pun) written in stone. By that I mean there aren't enough archaeologists who dare to take a chance on alternative or provocative theories anymore.

They think they know it all now. By 'they' I mean the broad concensus. Alternative archaeologists are too often labeled as 'kooks', while the timid majority cling to their 'accepted' theories, and discard anything that doesn't agree with them.

Everything has to fit neatly into the molds that the concensus has created. If it doesn't fit, then it is discarded out of hand. If someone speaks out against this, they are labeled a kook.

Indeed Egyptology, and all of archaeology and ancient history has suffered a lot from this.

A lot of Egyptology is based on this, which is based on that, which is based on THIS, which is based on THAT. Well....what if THAT was wrong? Then THIS, that, and this might be wrong too! But so many 'mainstream' academics have written books, and based their whole careers on this and that they are horrified by the idea that this, that, THIS, and THAT might be wrong. And they will fight tooth and nail like a cornered animal to defend their 'mainstream concensus' 'accepted' theories.

Archaeology in the 20's and 30's was glamorous, adventurous, and sensational.
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Old 07-25-2004, 12:40 AM   #13
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Good post, Monkey.

Today, we have Sub-Surface, Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) that gives you an image (even in 3D) of what's underneath the ground, by dragging an antenna over the soil.

How much fun would it have been if the discovery of King Tutankaten/amen 's tomb was made by a systematic search of the area using 3D GPR?

The use of modern techniques and equipmet has made arcaeology more practical and systematic and quite easier, but at the same time, as Monkey said, has taken the adventure out of it.
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Old 07-26-2004, 12:44 AM   #14
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Tenn knows everything.
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Old 07-27-2004, 03:37 PM   #15
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Well said, Monkey. I continue to be amazed at those those who harbor preconceived notions or theories and cling to them even in the face of contrary evidence.
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Old 08-03-2004, 02:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tennessee R
Today, we have Sub-Surface, Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) that gives you an image (even in 3D) of what's underneath the ground, by dragging an antenna over the soil.


Tenn, is GPR what the palentologists use in the opening scenes in Jurassic Park? I thought that was really fascinating.
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Old 08-04-2004, 08:01 AM   #17
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So Indy would have used the rings on stumps on nearby trees to determine how old an artifact was? I'm confused.
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Old 08-04-2004, 08:19 AM   #18
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Yes and no. The stump rings tell you how old the site is at least (e.g. that there has not been major changes in the forms of the landscape and so on) but is there a possible way to date object after it? Nope, though it may give one some kind of idea about how long in maximum it might have been there.

And I still say trotyle is part of Indy's archaelogical expertise.
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Old 08-04-2004, 10:52 PM   #19
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I think the biggest change would be that he wouldn't be able to find an original MkVII gas mask bag to carry around his finds for love or money, and have to buy a replica
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Old 08-05-2004, 07:44 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by blur
I think the biggest change would be that he wouldn't be able to find an original MkVII gas mask bag to carry around his finds for love or money, and have to buy a replica


Oh brother
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