Dominant group/Archaeology

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This is a photograph taken of the noted archaeologist and socialist V. Gordon Childe, circa 1930s. Credit: Swan Watson, Andrew.

Archaeology "studies human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains and environmental data, including architecture, artifacts, ecofacts, human remains, and landscapes."[1]


Def. "[t]he period of time that has already happened"[2] is called the past.



It "is the study of human activity in the past, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes (the archaeological record)."[3]


  1. an "object made or shaped by human hand",[4]
  2. an "object, such as a tool, weapon or ornament, of archaeological or historical interest, especially such an object found at an archaeological excavation",[4]
  3. something "viewed as a product of human conception or agency rather than an inherent element",[4]
  4. a "structure or finding in an experiment or investigation that is not a true feature of the object under observation, but is a result of external action, the test arrangement, or an experimental error",[4] or
  5. an "object made or shaped by some agent or intelligence, not necessarily of direct human origin"[4]

is called an artifact, or artefact.


"Because archaeology employs a wide range of different procedures, it can be considered to be both a science and a humanity,[5]"[3].

Human history[edit]

"Archaeology studies human history from the development of the first stone tools in eastern Africa 3.4 million years ago up until recent decades.[6] (Archaeology does not include the discipline of paleontology.)"[3]

Material cultures[edit]

"[D]ominant groups create and control the meanings and uses of material culture. If other groups wish to be understood by the dominant group, they must express themselves through the goods controlled by the dominant group."[7]


Human remains[edit]


Def. an assemblage of surfaces that are a portion of land, region, or territory, observable in its entirety is called a landscape.

Cultural landscapes[edit]


Archaeological records[edit]

Theoretical archaeology[edit]

Def. "[t]he study of the past through material remains"[8] is called archaeology, or archeology.

Dominant group[edit]

The term "dominant group" is a theoretical entity sometimes used by authors of primary sources to identify phenomena of interest.

Is any "dominant group" in archaeology or associated with archaeology an artifact?

Examples from primary sources are to be used to prove or disprove each hypothesis. These can be collected per subject or in general.

  • Accident hypothesis: dominant group is an accident of whatever processes are operating.
  • Artifact hypothesis: dominant group may be an artifact of human endeavor or may have preceded humanity.
  • Association hypothesis: dominant group is associated in some way with the original research.
  • Bad group hypothesis: dominant group is the group that engages in discrimination, abuse, punishment, and additional criminal activity against other groups. It often has an unfair advantage and uses it to express monopolistic practices.
  • Control group hypothesis: there is a control group that can be used to study dominant group.
  • Entity hypothesis: dominant group is an entity within each field where a primary author of original research uses the term.
  • Evolution hypothesis: dominant group is a product of evolutionary processes, such groups are the evolutionary process, produce evolutionary processes, or are independent of evolutionary processes.
  • Identifier hypothesis: dominant group is an identifier used by primary source authors of original research to identify an observation in the process of analysis.
  • Importance hypothesis: dominant group signifies original research results that usually need to be explained by theory and interpretation of experiments.
  • Indicator hypothesis: dominant group may be an indicator of something as yet not understood by the primary author of original research.
  • Influence hypothesis: dominant group is included in a primary source article containing original research to indicate influence or an influential phenomenon.
  • Interest hypothesis: dominant group is a theoretical entity used by scholarly authors of primary sources for phenomena of interest.
  • Metadefinition hypothesis: all uses of dominant group by all primary source authors of original research are included in the metadefinition for dominant group.
  • Null hypothesis: there is no significant or special meaning of dominant group in any sentence or figure caption in any refereed journal article.
  • Object hypothesis: dominant group is an object within each field where a primary author of original research uses the term.
  • Obvious hypothesis: the only meaning of dominant group is the one found in Mosby's Medical Dictionary.
  • Original research hypothesis: dominant group is included in a primary source article by the author to indicate that the article contains original research.
  • Primordial hypothesis: dominant group is a primordial concept inherent to humans such that every language or other form of communication no matter how old or whether extinct, on the verge of extinction, or not, has at least a synonym for dominant group.
  • Purpose hypothesis: dominant group is written into articles by authors for a purpose.
  • Regional hypothesis: dominant group, when it occurs, is only a manifestation of the limitations within a region. Variation of those limitations may result in the loss of a dominant group with the eventual appearance of a new one or none at all.
  • Source hypothesis: dominant group is a source within each field where a primary author of original research uses the term.
  • Term hypothesis: dominant group is a significant term that may require a 'rigorous definition' or application and verification of an empirical definition.


"But, the privilege afforded a certain dominant group of 'normal' archaeologists in terms of their ways of constructing the past influences all aspects of archaeological practice."[9]

"However, some answers to these questions may emerge from a consideration of the dominant group, that is, the five institutions whose scholars published the most articles in the two periodicals."[10]


"Although clearly the major changes are found in the culture of the subordinate group, the dominant group also experiences a degree of change as well."[11]

"Thus, while the archaeology of the dominant group is the most influential one, the most privileged one, such that all of the other formations exist in relation to and “within” it, all people, both those of the dominant formations and those of the non-dominant ones, are constituted by their multiformational positionality."[12]

"For instance, resources made available by a dominant group, such as the National Science Foundation, can be viewed both as “powers over” possible research agendas of others, and also as “powers with” others in assisting researchers pursuing certain kinds of projects."[13]


The East African diaspora has three causes:

  1. migration of ethnic groups like the Zulu,
  2. the slave trade, and
  3. climatic changes which caused wars and forced ethnic groups to abandon certain areas.[14]

"Slaves' masters were obliged to teach their pagan slaves Islam ... as it justified slavery and facilitated the control of a dominant group".[14]

"Slave owners were Africans".[14] "Although most and the biggest slave owners on the coast and islands were Muslims, there were also Christians and native Africans who were slave owners."[14]


"When three or more ethnic groups exist, the dominant group gains by fostering a wide social gulf between the others."[15]

"The dominant group reinforces this process by forcibly ascribing subhuman status to the group or groups it victimizes, the "others.""[16]

Evolutionary archaeology[edit]

The majority of the participants give "similar estimates to the confederates despite that estimate being obviously false, illustrating the powerful effect of conformity in group settings."[17]

One group is "placed in a position of economic and communicative superiority: Its products were more valuable than those of the other two groups, and all trade had to be conducted through it."[17]

"The results showed that although the dominant group earned more than the other two groups, all groups increased their earnings over the successive generations."[17]

The "increased productivity was attributed to increasingly efficient trading and division of labor, rules concerning which were being transmitted to each new generation."[17]

Heritage management[edit]

"Rare, though, is the country where ethnic groups balance each other in terms of numbers, wealth or political influence and, consequently, it is not uncommon for the dominant group to use its power to push its own heritage to the fore, minimizing or denying the significance of subordinate groups as it crafts a national identity in its own image."[18]

"In some respects, the needs of ethnically diverse audiences bring new issues into play, questions concerning divergent perspectives, the authority of a dominant group not representative [in museums] of those portrayed; yet at the same time, such issues affect other groups who have had little control over the representation of their cultures, including women, the disabled, the gay community, and so forth."[19]

Historical archaeology[edit]

"At the risk of oversimplification, only the essence of these definitions of ideology follows, from broadest to most focused:

  1. ideas, beliefs, and values produced by material processes (stressing social production of thought);
  2. ideas and beliefs (false or true) of a specific, socially significant group or class;
  3. promotion or legitimation of such a group's concerns;
  4. promotion of a dominant group's interests;
  5. legitimation of the dominant group's interests through distortion and dissimulation; and
  6. deceptive beliefs arising not from the interests of a dominant group, but from the material structure of society, such as fetishism of commodities."[20]

"Although clearly the major changes are found in the culture of the subordinate group, the dominant group also experiences a degree of change as well."[11]


"In both of these cases, the archaeologists concluded that they were dealing with subordinate groups that had purposefully rejected the conventions of the dominant group and the ideals which those conventions embodied."[21]

"As false consciousness, ideology acts to mask, hide, or obscure the real nature of social relations to the benefit of a dominant group (McGuire 1992a: 140)."[22]

"Vulgar ideologies serve to promote, possibly through distortion, the dominant group's interests."[23]


"This procedure assumes that there is a single dominant group in the data, [but] ... The group structure in these data is ill-suited to methods for detecting outliers that assume a single dominant group."[24]

"The resultant leaf or node is labelled according to the dominant group, 1, and the numbers (22/0/0) show the numbers from each region in the leaf."[25]


"This research shows how material evidence produced by the dominant group in a cross-cultural interaction can be used to tease out and analyse what might ordinarily be considered the hidden voices of indigenous people."[26]


"The ceramic traditions, and probably non-material items of the Ananatuba culture, were replaced by those of the stronger and more dominant group, the Mangueiras Phase people."[27]

"The dominant petrographic group (DIV-01—03, DIV-05—09) of the Tiszaszőlős-Domaháza ceramics (Fig. 6a-b) can be characterised by a fine grained, serial fabric which makes probable the use of natural unprepared sediments. ... There is one sample (DIV-09) in this dominant petrographic group which is a bit different from the others: it has a less ferrous, more pure clay matrix but the non-plastics were similar to the dominant group."[28]


"Although a part of the pottery assemblage there was petrographically similar to the one from En-Gedi, the dominant group consisted of dark red clay vessels. Shales and siltstones were the main tempering materials."[29]

"The dominant group in our set of vessels and sherds of Central Greece Locris-l is of special interest, since all of the 11 sherds of craters depicting ships belong to it."[30]

"In order to interpret archaeological ceramic assemblages in terms of social identities, a method was developed [that] consists in sorting the potsherds according to, successively, technical, techno-petrographic and morpho-stylistic criteria."[31]

The "Levant of the fourth millennium [5800-5500 b2k] was dotted with numerous small farming communities with no [apparent] dominant priesthood for regulating social and economic activities".[31]

"Within [dominant] Group A ceramics, variability is found at an intra- and inter-site level. It can be described according to the main following attributes: location of the coating (external and/or internal face), grain-size of the coarse fraction (from fine to very coarse), network of the coarse fraction (wide-mesh or tightened-mesh network), thickness of the coating, colour, covering aspect (regarding the coarse fraction). Variability of these attributes determines technical sub-groups. The different settlement ceramic assemblages present dominant technical sub-groups, which are different in aspect from one site to another".[31]

"The two petrofacies derive from surperficial deposits formed from erosion of the lower Cretaceous. e: corresponds to one of the dominant group originated from the alluvial fan at the North of the Dead sea. f: corresponds to the other dominant group originated from poorly drained marshlands between the Dead sea and Tuleilat Ghassul."[31]

"The ceramic entity A is characterised, from a technical and techno-petrographic point of view, by a discontinuity between one or two dominant sub-groups (quantitatively major) and a few satellite sub-groups (quantitatively minor). Ceramic entity B, on the contrary, shows a petrographic continuity with the dominant sub-groups A."[31]


"This is the dominant group of stone tools (47.7 %), including the following categories : grinding slabs (3.2 %), basalt mortars (4.8 %), grinding stones (23.8 %), pestles (3.2 %) and limestone bowls (12.7 %)."[32]

"The dominant group in the structure of retouched tools continue to be bilaterally retouched blades-just like at Balkan sites — although their frequency is smaller than in Koros-ca 26-30%; retouched blades are replaced by retouched truncations (18.6%), retouched flakes (24.1 %) and by microliths (16.6 %)."[33]


"Archaeological field survey is the method by which archaeologists (often landscape archaeologists) search for archaeological sites and collect information about the location, distribution and organization of past human cultures across a large area (e.g. typically in excess of one hectare, and often in excess of many km2)."[34]

Surveys are conducted "to search for particular archaeological sites or kinds of sites, to detect patterns in the distribution of material culture over regions, to make generalizations or test hypotheses about past cultures, and to assess the risks that development projects will have adverse impacts on archaeological heritage.[35]"[34]

"The surveys may be: (a) intrusive or non-intrusive, depending on the needs of the survey team (and the risk of destroying archaeological evidence if intrusive methods are used) and; (b) extensive or intensive, depending on the types of research questions being asked of the landscape in question. Surveys can be a practical way to decide whether or not to carry out an excavation (as a way of recording the basic details of a possible site), but may also be ends in themselves, as they produce important information about past human activities in a regional context."[34]


Excavations at the site of Gran Dolina, in Atapuerca (Spain), during 2008, are shown. Credit: Mario Modesto Mata.

"[E]xcavation is the exposure, processing and recording of archaeological remains. An excavation site or "dig" is a site being studied."[36]


Def. a "history of events that occur after (and are consequences of) an event (e.g. a crisis, a reconciliation, etc)"[37] is called a posthistory.


The prehistory period dates from around 7 x 106 b2k to about 7,000 b2k.

"It is of most importance for learning about prehistoric societies, when there are no written records for historians to study, making up over 99% of total human history, from the Palaeolithic until the advent of literacy in any given society.[5]"[3]

Def. "[t]he history of human culture prior to written records"[38] is called prehistory.


  1. Dominant group is a deliberate effort by some subgroups of humans to put themselves above others to exploit them.

See also[edit]


  1. Crazedandinfused (September 6, 2007). "Difference between revisions of "Topic:Archeology", In: Wikiversity". Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  2. "past, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 10 January 2015. Retrieved 2015-02-17.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Archaeology, In: Wikipedia". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. January 6, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "artifact, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 12 December 2014. Retrieved 2015-02-17.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Renfrew and Bahn (2004 [1991]:13)
  6. McPherron, S. P., Z. Alemseged, C. W. Marean, J. G. Wynn, D. Reed, D. Geraads, R. Bobe, and H. A. Bearat. 2010. Evidence for stone-tool-assisted consumption of animal tissues before 3.39 million years ago at Dikika, Ethiopia. Nature 466:857-860
  7. Paul A. Shackel (2000). Marcia-Anne Dobres and John E. Robb, ed. Craft to wage labor Agency and resistance in American historical archaeology, In: Agency in Archaeology (PDF). London: Routledge. Retrieved 2011-12-06.
  8. "archaeology, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. October 16, 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-30.
  9. Thomas A. Dowson (2000). "Why queer archaeology? An introduction". World Archaeology 32 (2): 161-5. doi:10.1080/00438240050131144. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  10. Stephen L. Dyson (April 1985). "Two Paths to the past: A Comparative Study of the Last Fifty Years of American Antiquity and the American Journal of Archaeology". American Antiquity 50 (2): 452-63. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Charles R. Ewen (2000). "From Colonist to Creole: Archaeological Patterns of Spanish Colonization in the New World". Historical Archaeology 34 (3): 36-45. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  12. James Haywood Rolling Jr. (February 2007). "Visual Culture Archaeology: A Criti/Politi/cal Methodology of Image and Identity". Cultural Studies <=> Critical Methodologies 7 (1): 3-25. doi:10.1177/1532708606291066. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  13. Suzanne M. Spencer-Wood (2010). S. Baugher, S. M. Spencer-Wood. ed. Commentary: A Feminist Framework for Analyzing Complex Gendered Power Dynamics Altering Cultural Landscapes from the Past into the Present, In: Archaeology and Preservation of Gendered Landscapes. New York: Springer. pp. 343-60. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-1501-6_15. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Nik Petek (January 2011). "The East African Diaspora: The Problem with Slaves". Issues (15): 105. Retrieved 2011-08-29. 
  15. Randall H. McGuire (June 1982). "The study of ethnicity in historical archaeology". Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 1 (2): 159-78. doi:10.1016/0278-4165(82)90019-8. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  16. David W. Babson (1990). "The Archaeology of Racism and Ethnicity on Southern Plantations". Historical Archaeology 24 (4): 20-8. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 3723: bad argument #1 to 'pairs' (table expected, got nil).
  18. Denis Byrne (1991). "Western hegemony in archaeological heritage management". History and Anthropology 5 (2): 269-76. doi:10.1080/02757206.1991.9960815. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  19. Moira G. Simpson (1996). Making representations: Museums in the post-colonial era. Psychology Press. p. 294. ISBN 0415067855. Retrieved 2014-05-13.
  20. Barbara J. Little (1996). Charles E. Orser Jr., ed. People with History: An Update on Historical Archaeology in the United States, In: Images of the Recent Past: Readings in Historical Archaeology. Walnut Creek, California: AltaMira Press. pp. 42–78. ISBN 0-7619-9141-7. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  21. Elizabeth M. Brumfiel (April 1998). "Huitzilopochtli's conquest: Aztec ideology in the archaeological record". Cambridge Archaeological Journal 8 (1): 3-13. doi:10.1017/S095977430000127X. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  22. Brian W. Thomas (October 1998). "Power and Community: The Archaeology of Slavery at the Hermitage Plantation". American Antiquity 63 (4): 531-51. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  23. Barbara J. Little (September 1997). "Expressing Ideology Without a Voice, or Obfuscation and the Enlightenment". International Journal of Historical Archaeology 1 (3): 225-41. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  24. M. J. Baxter (August 1999). "Detecting Multivariate Outliers in Artefact Compositional Data". Archaeometry 41 (2): 321-38. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4754.1999.tb00986.x. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  25. M. J. Baxter, C. M. Jackson (May 2001). "Variable selection in artefact compositional studies". Archaeometry 43 (2): 253-68. doi:10.1111/1475-4754.00017/abstract. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  26. Anne Clarke , Alistair Paterson (2003). "Cross-cultural archaeology: An introduction". Archaeology in Oceania 38. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  27. Clifford Evans, Jr. and Betty J. Meggers (July 1950). "Preliminary Results of Archaeological Investigations at the Mouth of the Amazon". American Antiquity 16 (1): 1-9. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  28. Szilágyi Veronika – Szakmány György (March 2007). "Petrographic and Geochemical Study of Ceramics of Neolithic Settlements on the Northern Boundary of the Great Hungarian Plain - Tiszaszölös-Domaháza (Körös Culture) and Füzesabony-Gubakút (Alp Culture, Szatmár Group)". Archeometriai Műhely 7 (3): 31-46. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  29. Isaac Gilead and Yuval Goren (August 1989). "Petrographic analyses of fourth millennium BC pottery and stone vessels from the Northern Negev, Israel". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (275): 5-14. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  30. H. Mommsen, I. Hein, D. Ittameier, J Maran and P. Dakoronia (2001). Y. Bassiakos, E. Aloupi and Y. Facorellis. ed. New Mycenaean Pottery Production Centers from the Eastern Part of Central Greece obtained by Neutron Activation Analysis, In:. pp. 343-54. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 Valentine Roux and Marie-Agnès Courty (2005). Identifying social entities at a macro-regional level: Chalcolithic ceramics of South Levant as a case study, In: Pottery Manufacturing Processes (PDF). University of Paris. pp. 201–14. Retrieved 2014-05-13.
  32. Garfinkel, Yosef (1993). "The Yarmukian Culture in Israel" (in en). Paléorient 19 (1): 115-34. OCLC 927278119. Retrieved 2012-02-24. 
  33. Malgorzata Kaczanowska; Janusz K. Kozlowski (May 2008). Faculty of History and Patrimony, Institute for the Study and Valorification of the Transylvanian Patrimony in European context. "The Körös and the early Eastern Linear Culture in the northern part of the Carpathian Basin: a view from the perspective of lithic industries" (in en) (pdf). Acta Terrae Septemcastrensis : Proceedings of the International Colloquium: The Carpathian Basin and its Role in the Neolithisation of the Balkan Peninsula (Sibiu: University of Sibiu) VII: 9-38. ISSN 1583-1817. Retrieved March 24, 2019. 
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 "Archaeological field survey, In: Wikipedia". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. October 12, 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  35. E. B. Banning (2002). Archaeological Survey. New York: Kluwer Academic Press.
  36. "Excavation (archaeology), In: Wikipedia". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. January 8, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  37. "posthistory, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 26 May 2014. Retrieved 2015-02-17.
  38. "prehistory, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 21 December 2014. Retrieved 2015-02-17.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

{{Archaeology resources}}{{Dominant group}}{{History of science resources}}{{Humanities resources}}