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ANTH 204 Archaeology: Find a Topic and Get Background Info

How Do I Choose a Topic?

How do I choose a topic?           First, read your assignment to understand the requirements and/or limitations of your topic choices. Then choose a topic that interests you:

1. FIRST
Develop Search Strategies

2. NEXT
Use those strategies to do background research.
Click on each of the tabs below to try different search tools.
arrow pointing down to tabs which contain search tools

3. THEN
Look for signs that you have a "good" topic

Note: Be Flexible. 
Your topic may change or evolve over time.
This is a normal part of the research process.

FOCUS ON A SPECIFIC LOCATION OR CULTURE
Are you interested in:

  • Geographic location (Spain, Yucatan Penninsula...etc.)?
  • Time period? (Stone Age, pre-Columbian..etc.)?
  • Culture (Mayan, Viking..etc.)?
     
  • See more choices and examples...

FOCUS ON A SPECIFIC TOPIC OR CONTROVERSY
 

  • is there a topic from your textbook or class lecture that you want to further explore?
  • what don't you know know about how people lived in the past?
    I wonder how / why / if ___________?
    (I wonder how the Vikings viewed the afterlife?)
     
  • See a list of potential topics
    *You will start with a topic and will need to narrow it down to one archaeological site

Browsing for Topics

 

Enter the name of your archaeological site. Do you see several results about your topic? That is a good starting sign that there is enough research that has been conducted on your archaeological site. Next, read through these and other sources you find in your research (books, websites...etc.) Then, do you notice a trend in topics?  (for example, you notice that many articles use archaeological evidence to make conclusions about the political structure of the culture) That's a good sign that a a common topic has emerged about your archaeological site. Lastly, do you notice that some articles come to different conclusions or interpretations of the data? (for example, some articles conclude that the culture was egalitarian while others argue that it had a hierarchical structure) That's a good sign that there is controversy or debate about this topic.