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Information Literacy Archaeology: Answers

Question 1 + answer

Is the information you find on the internet less reliable than the information in academic journals to which the UB subscribes?

Answer:

Information found on the internet is not necessarily less reliable than the information in academic journals held by the UB. However, because anyone can publish anything on the internet, and most of this information is not subject to the quality checks carried out by academic journals, it is essential to assess the information thoroughly to make sure it is reliable.

Question 2 + answer

Why is peer review a good indication of how reliable the information is?

Answer:

Peer review is a very good indication of reliability because it means that the information has been assessed by more than one expert.
You can be sure that peer-reviewed articles are reliable and that their content is of the required standard.

Question 3 + answer

Say, you have to write a paper on the Chaîne opératoire or the operational sequences of pottery production during the Neolithic (Chaîne opératoire is the “operational chain” or “operational sequence” and as a term used throughout anthropological discourse, but is commonly used in archaeology. It functions as a methodological tool for analysing the technical processes and social acts involved in the step-by-step production, use, and eventual disposal of artefacts, such as lithic tools or pottery).

You are searching for scholarly literature that you can use as a source for your paper.

Explanation

Relevance is a decisive criterion when you evaluate whether a source is going to be useful to your project. When the information in the source does not relate to your topic and does not answer your research question, it is not useful. Non-relevant publications come at the bottom of the list.

 

1. Mazurkevich, A. and Dolbunova, E., 2012;

Authors distinguished four “chaînes opératoires” demonstrating the existence of different technological traditions at the same time on one site.

2. de Groot, B., Thissen, L., Özbal, R. and Gerritsen, F., 2017;

The article investigates the process of Neolithisation of the eastern Marmara region of north-west Anatolia by discussing the results of a pilot study to define the development of the clay preparation methods of the first ceramics at Barcın Höyük. Authors used petrographic analysis on a sample of sherds (n =34) from Neolithic levels (c. 6600–6200 cal. BC) at the site, and compared their findings with the ceramic technology of Neolithic settlements in neighbouring regions. The results suggested that the composition of the clays used changed over time. The development in clay recipes may have involved changes in the strength, toughness and thermal behaviour of the ceramic vessels when used for cooking or boiling over fire. Detailed, relevant article but does not examine whole operational sequence.

3. Martineau, R., WALTER‐SIMONNET, A.V., Grobéty, B. and Buatier, M., 2007;

Experimental work on clays and pottery manufacture in precise region of France. High rating Journal and this article is frequently cited but is specific.

4. Detecting and explaining technological innovation in prehistoric Europe; Workshop programme at Kiel University (November 23-24, 2017);

Several speakers examine the changes in manufacturing technology of Neolithic pottery. This shows that some scholars are involved in this line of research on Neolithic ceramics but provides no further details. If relevant one can search now using author name.

5. Milisauskas, S.;

Provides general introduction to Neolithic Europe with contexts but hardly examines Chaîne opératoire of ceramics.

Question 4 + answer

Say, you have to write a paper about the excavation of the corpse of the English king Richard III (1452-1485). He was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field. His remains were excavated in 2012 in Leicester. You are especially interested in the reasons that led to a dig on that specific site in Leicester. You are searching for scholarly literature that you can use as a source for your paper.

Answer

1. Kennedy & Foxhall
2. Buckley
3. Ormrod
4. HeritageDaily, "The University of Leicester ..."

Explanation
Relevance is a decisive criterion when you evaluate whether a source is going to be useful to your project. When the information in the source does not relate to your topic and does not answer your research question, it is not useful. Non-relevant publications come at the bottom of the list.

HeritageDaily
The article "Leicester University announces ..." is a general news story about the results of the excavation. It is not relevant because it is not about your topic. There is no information about the reasons to dig on this location. Besides that: HeritageDaily is an online news magazine about sciences and research. It is not a scholarly publication.

Buckley
When you read the abstract of the article of Buckley a.o. it looks to be relevant. Next to that you can see from the description in SmartCat that it is an article in a peer-reviewed journal and makes that it can be considered as a scholarly publication. When you open the pdf and read the full text of the article you will see that the article does give information about the historical evidence that led to the choice of this location.

Ormrod
The article of Ormrod is about the identification of Richard III and that is not your topic. It is not relevant for your paper.

Kennedy & Foxhall
The publication of Kennedy & Foxhall is relevant. Chapter 2 of the book is about the evidence that points to the location. Kennedy and Foxhall were (with Buckley and others) part of the team that did the excavation. The book offers a more in-depth treatment of the excavation project than the article and you put it on the top of your list.