1998 TOP SECRET CODE PAGE
After the artifacts recovered from the
excavation have been cleaned and
conserved, they are ready for the archaeologist
to use them to obtain
information about the past. The
first task is to put some order on the
finds by dividing them into groups, or
types, that have some meaning - this
is what is called making a typology.
First, there are broad classifications
that you could divide the artifacts
into: stone tools, weapons, jewelry, cooking
stuff and so on.
After these divisions are made then the
archaeologist can look at the contents
of each class in more detail.
Let us take stone tools as an example,
the archaeologist could further divide
this class into wedges, hammers, adzes
and knives. Next all of the wedges
could be divided into different categories
depending on what material they
were made from or based on their size.
Basically, to form a typology you divide
up all the artifacts into different
classes. These classes can then be further
divided until you have
a typology (a set of classes) that makes
For example, pretend that you have twenty
Some are blue.
Some are red.
Some are yellow.
Some are green.
Some are black.
Some have 2 holes :
Some have 4 holes ::
Try to make a typology out of these buttons.
Divide them up into classes
that you think make sense.
After you have done this, scroll down
the page past the red dancing guys
and see how you did!!
Hopefully you figured out that there is
NO right way to do this !!
Typologies can be formed many different
For instance, you might have divided up
all the beads by their color and not
cared how many holes they had - this makes
Or, you might have divided up all the
buttons into just two categories, two holed
buttons and four holed buttons - this
also makes sense.
The only thing that matters is that the
classification you make
on the artifacts has some meaning.
But trust me, it can be
harder than it sounds.
Imagine having thousands
of artifacts from your site and
having to form a typology
on them - usually a computer helps.