Using seriation at our hypothetical junkyard sites, we will try to establish the chronology--the order in which the junkyards were used and closed.To start out, we will take a sample of the deposits in each of junkyards.He assumed that the change in styles was an evolutionary one, and, if you could quantify that change, he surmised it might be used to indicate which cemeteries were older than others.Petrie's notions about Egyptology, and archaeology in general, were revolutionary.It isn't possible to investigate all of a junkyard, so we'll pick a representative sample of the deposit.We take our samples back to the laboratory, and count the kinds of artifacts in them, and discover that each of the junkyards have broken pieces of musical recording methods in them--old broken records, pieces of stereo equipment, 8-track cassette tapes.The seriation method works because object styles change over time; they always have and always will.A good example of a change in artifact type is the development of hand-held PDAs from those first enormous cell phones. As an example of how change through time works, consider the different music recording methods that were used in the 20th century.
For a study we're doing on, say, the availability of music in rural locations during the 20th century, we'd like to know more about the deposits in these illicit junkyards.
His worrying about where a pot came from and what period it dated to and what that meant to the other objects buried with it were light-years away from the ideas represented in this photo dated to 1800, in which "Egyptian pots" was considered enough information for the thinking man.
Petrie was a scientific archaeologist, probably close to our first example.
Microsoft Excel (TM) has created for us a lovely stacked bar graph for us.
Each of the bars in this graph represents a different junkyard; the different colored blocks represent percentages of artifact types within those junkyards.The gramophone sat in your parlor and certainly couldn't be carried along with you and your earbobs. When 78 rpm records first appeared on the market, they were very rare.