Human Evolution and Prehistory Human Beings & Climate Change Research Paper


10 page archeological research paper – academic research required

Research paper requirements and format:
Your paper should be minimum 10 pages of text.
That means 10 pages of text:

not counting the bibliography or title page

not counting any images, figures or tables
– without extra spaces between paragraphs or between headings and
subsequent text
• use size 12, Times New Roman font for the body of the paper
• double-spaced
• use normal margins
• the bibliography can be 10 or 11 font and single spaced
• your bibliography must be formatted consistently throughout
• you must include a minimum of 8 references in your bibliography and AT
LEAST 5 of these must be from a refereed journal (see below about different
types of references)
• do not use footnotes
• insert page numbers!!!
• include a title page and have your name and student ID on it somewhere
below the title
• 10 page term papers DO NOT require an abstract or a table of contents
NOTE: simply satisfying minimum requirements does not guarantee you a good
mark on anything in university (OR LIFE!). Meeting minimum requirements is just
the first step towards avoiding a poor mark.
Writing Academic Research Papers:
especially for Archaeology and Biological Anthropology
Academic papers should be written with due attention to:
 objectivity
 clarity – communicate your ideas clearly
 proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure
 use of evidence (usually just what you have available from the literature)
Basic Paper Components:
Briefly and concisely (1-2 paragraphs) describe the paper. Introduce the topic, the various
current hypotheses that researchers have put forward, and, if applicable, the one that you are
going to argue in support of, if this is applicable. If you are presenting an interpretation or issue
that is your own (something completely new), briefly explain what the question or problem is
and what your interpretation is. You might mention what types of sources of evidence you will
be using – typically this will just be the available, current literature.
Main Body
Headings and subheadings are appropriate here (e.g. “Previous Research”, “Current Hypotheses”,
“Discussion”, etc.) and will help to organize your paper so that it is much easier for you to write
and much easier for readers to follow.
In the main body, elaborate on the topic you are addressing:
 What’s been done in the past by previous researchers?
 What’s the current state of research in this area?
 Introduce the various CURRENT MAINSTREAM scientific views? Please DO NOT
address the lunatic fringe! (DO NOT talk, for example, about Atlantis, Aquatic Ape
Theory, or UFOs – popular culture has no place here!) If a theory or hypothesis has any
legs to stand on, it will be covered by mainstream researchers in the legitimate literature.
 Discuss the evidence that is available and that different researchers have used to support
their various hypotheses/interpretations.
 Discuss the different hypotheses in light of the evidence (as you have critically examined
it!) and analyze the arguments that have been made by others.
 Present your own conclusions – what idea/hypothesis you think is best supported by the
evidence – if there are any. You may also find that more than one hypothesis can explain
the available evidence – or there is an alternative one of your own that you think is
supported by the available evidence.

Briefly summarize the topic.
Briefly summarize your arguments.
In 2 or 3 sentences summarize how the evidence supports your conclusion.
Perhaps point out shortcomings in the evidence and potential future directions of
investigation that would help answer some of the open questions in the topic.
 every source cited in the text of your paper MUST be included in your reference list.
 every source listed in your reference list MUST be cited at least once in your text.
Citing References in the text
Cite the sources of ALL ideas, concepts, theories, data, facts, opinions, and quotes that are not
your own! You do not need to cite an idea if it is commonly known and has been around for
some time – e.g., you don’t need to cite Darwin’s Origin of Species if you are talking about the
theory of Natural Selection. Where you have used an idea or data in your text that uniquely
comes from someone else’s publication, include at the end of the sentence or paragraph: the
author’s last name and the date of the publication that you got the information from. If it is
specific data or a specific idea or quote that you are using, then include the page number where it
is found.
In general some researchers still see no problem with classic definitions of Levallois
technology and suggest that all that is required are more specific criteria for identifying
its end-products (Smith 1992: 5-6).
If you include the name of an author (that you are citing) directly in the text, then rather than
repeat their name in a citation at the end of the sentence or paragraph, simply put the date (and
page number if applicable) in brackets immediately following their name.
Wilson provides a good summary of current problems (Wilson 2003: 127).
Wilson (2003: 127) provides a good summary of current problems.
For citations with two authors, include both their last names followed by the date and page
number if. If there are 3 or more authors, just include the last name of the first author followed
by et. al. – then the year and page number if applicable.
…… (Turner and Barnes 1978)
Miller et. al. (2001:320) ……
In the body/text of your paper:

DO NOT include titles of the books or articles you are citing (this is what the bibliography
is for).

DO NOT use the first names of any authors you are citing.

DO NOT introduce the authors of your sources/references to the reader.

DO NOT include their credentials [“Dr./Professor Tom Smith (2001) argues …”]. If the
source of your data/idea is creditable (from a reliable reference like a refereed journal) then
that is credential enough for its authors.
John Miller (2001), a highly respected professor of archaeology at Blah
Blah University, has argued that …
fame or professional credentials ≠ credibility
peer review = credibility
Direct Quotes
Avoid the use of direct quotes. An occasional direct quote can be useful to emphasize a point or
highlight specific historical work within a subject, but they should be used very sparingly (and
referenced properly). Too many direct quotes becomes plagiarism.
Do not use contractions (can’t, won’t, don’t, they’ve) in technical papers like this.
Illustrations, diagrams, photos, maps, tables, and graphs are very effective devices for getting
information across to the reader – in fact, for most archaeology and anthropology papers one
type of figure or another will likely be a necessity.
Figures should not entirely take the place of written description, but should simply augment it,
make it more easily understood, and perhaps limit the length of written description required.

If you find yourself describing the physical location of a specific locale (site, region,
etc.), include a map. The type of map (line, satellite, topographic, hydrologic, etc.) and
how simple or complex it is depends entirely on the context.
o Maps of all sorts can be found online and as long as they are properly referenced
can be used freely in an academic paper. This does not necessarily satisfy copyright
law, but since these papers are not being published and are strictly for educational
use, attitudes about this are relaxed.

If you are listing numbers of things (counts, quantities, ratios, etc.) then consider
including a table. Tables are very easily constructed directly in Microsoft Word
documents or are easily imported from Microsoft Excel.

If you are discussing trends in counts, measurements, or ratios then consider using an
appropriate type of graph. Graphs of all common types are very easily constructed in
programs such as Microsoft Excel.

If you are discussing chronological events (e.g., Palaeolithic culture history or Geologic
time) then consider including a diagram illustrating the sequence.
o Most people have at least a passing familiarity with some graphics software (Corel
Draw, Adobe Illustrator, etc.) and should have little trouble learning to construct
their own figures (or modifying others’).

If you are discussing or describing a specific thing or type of thing (hominin cranium,
artifact, motif, animal, etc.) then include a photograph. I can’t imagine writing a paper on
hominin fossils or cave art and not including at least some images of these.
o There is a huge quantity of images (photos, illustrations) that are technically “in the
public domain” and can be used without specific permission of the owner.
Wikipedia Commons is a good source for public domain images.
o Also, many photos posted on sites such as have been made available for
unrestricted public use by the image creators. However, some photos on these sites
have not been put in the public domain and have only been released for specific or
limited use — it is important to consult the copyright details posted for each image.
Figures should be referred to within the text at the point in the text where they are relevant.
“Our own interpretation of the stratigraphic sequence corresponds well to that of
Lafille (Table 1).”
“The bedrock floor includes numerous natural endokarstic features (see Figure 4).”
EVERY table and figure requires a caption explaining it. By convention, with figures (map,
photo, diagram, illustration, graph) the captions go below the figure and table captions go above
the table.
Bibliography and References (these terms are often used interchangeably)
Biological Anthropology papers generally follow the format used in the Journal of Human
Evolution and Archaeology papers generally follow the format used in American Antiquity.
However, I am not that concerned about what style you use as long as you are consistent. BUT,
DO NOT use footnotes.
For some researchers and in some disciplines a distinction is made between ‘Bibliography’ and
‘References Cited’. Your bibliography is the list of all the sources you looked at while
researching your paper, regardless of whether you actually cited them in the text. “References”
or “References Cited” is a list of just those references from which you pulled specific
data/concepts/opinions. In my experience, however, this distinction is not usually considered
particularly important in the archaeology/anthropology literature.
Appropriate (and Inappropriate) Literature Sources
Sources should be as up to date as possible. Unless you are using them specifically as sources on
the history of a subject, try to avoid using sources older than ≈20 years. If you are not
referencing the most current academic sources on your subject, then the information, ideas,
interpretations presented in your paper are not going to be accurate.
There are a number of different types of sources of academic/scientific literature. However, they
are not all of equal quality or reliability and some sources of information simply do not belong in
a technical paper at the university level.
BEST: Peer-reviewed Academic Journals (‘e-journals’- see below) are by far the best source.
Articles in academic journals are submitted by researchers to the journal editorial staff for
consideration for inclusion in that journal. If the editors think that it is of reasonable quality and
that the topic of the article is appropriate for their journal they will send out copies of the article
to 2 or 3 (or sometimes more) established researchers in that field for review. In some cases, the
reviewers will not know who the author is (the author’s name is first removed by the editor).
These reviewers read the article and tell the journal editors (in their own words and often in
extended detail) that, in their view:

“the article is fine, publish it as it is”; or

“the author needs to change a few minor things, but then it should be published”; or

“the article should not be published without major revisions”; or

“the article completely lacks the appropriate quality of data, writing, intellectual rigor, etc.
that should be expected as the standard for such a journal and should not be published.”
The editors then take these comments into consideration before they decide whether to publish
the article or not. This system has proven to be, over the last century or two, a very effective way
to maintain high standards of research and publication in the sciences. At the same time it
prevents individuals from having the power to block other researcher’s from freely presenting
their ideas and it prevents anyone from blocking the introduction of new and innovative ways of
approaching data and questions.
You should note that some major journals, such as Science, also put out regular news items (e.g.,
Science News) on major research. These are not peer reviewed articles – they are written by inhouse writers (not actual researchers) as interesting science stories for the general public. They
are not good sources on a subject. These news stories are usually written because that journal is
publishing an actual article on that subject – you should go to that actual article that was written
by the actual researchers.
At the very end of this document you will find a list of the main academic journals for biological
Anthropology and Archaeology.
GOOD: Edited Books/Volumes are the next best source
These are a compilation of articles on a narrow topic that have been collected and edited by one
or more researchers and published in book form by a university, professional association, or
publishing company. These articles do not go through the same degree of rigorous reviewing that
journal articles do, but realistically a university, professional association, or publishing company
would not bother putting out such a book unless the editor(s) and contributing authors are well
established in their discipline and researchers working in this area will be interested in buying it.
GOOD: Specific-Subject Books are not bad sources
(, The Neanderthal Legacy, Lithics: Macroscopic Approach to Analysis, Tree-Ring Dating
and Archaeology, Chimpanzee Material Culture, African Prehistory, etc.)
As with edited volumes, a publishing company (these type of books are typically published by
academic publishing companies like university presses) would not usually bother putting out a
book on a specific subject by anyone other than a well established researcher in that field. These
books are generally tailored to students/professionals in that field and if the quality of the data
and research used in the book are questionable nobody would buy it. However, the only real
control on the quality of the contents is through the editor in the publishing company who will
not be an expert on the discipline. Editors will often solicit comments from other established
researchers in the same or related fields to provide comments on the quality of the book –
something akin to casual peer-reviewing.
OKAY: Texts/General Reference Books
Texts, especially those tailored to introductory-level courses, will generally supply only
summaries of specific subjects within a discipline. In producing such summaries the author does
not necessarily go right back to any original data or even original literature sources. They might
try to do this as much as possible or maybe limit this level of detail to specific illustrative
examples included within each topic covered, but considering the range of topics covered in a
text it would just not be possible to do this for everything. What texts are most useful for are
finding references in their bibliography on more specific sources on a topic. This is often a good
place to begin in your literature search. If, for example, you are writing a paper on Stable Isotope
Analysis of human skeletal remains and diet reconstruction, look in the bibliographies of several
physical anthropology and archaeology textbooks for more specific books and journal articles on
this topic.
Referencing books: Even if you access a book inline in digital form, do not list it in your
bibliography as an ‘electronic source’. Format it in your bibliography properly as you do with
any book sources.
NOT GREAT: Class lectures, graduate theses
For every concept, fossil, site, etc covered in a lecture, there will be properly published sources
that cover them better – you should find these if you want to talk about these things specifically.
BAD: Magazines (Archaeology, National Geographic, Scientific American), Regular News
Media (Time, New York Times) or Science News (Science News, Science Daily, Live Science)
These are NOT appropriate sources. They are designed to make money by entertaining nonprofessionals who are casually interested in the sciences or announcing new scientific
discoveries. They are not designed to disseminate new, reliable information on a topic. The
quality of the articles might be good in many cases, but any ideas or data presented cannot be
trusted in general, and often they are downright bad. These do not belong in the references of
academic papers.
BEST: E-Journals – these are just academic journals (as discussed above) made
available online – the same journals you can access in hard
copy from the stacks
Most legitimate refereed academic journals, that have been available in paper form for many
decades, are now available online as well (‘e-journals’). However, even if you access these
journals online they should still be cited in your text and formatted in your bibliography in
exactly the same manner as if you had accessed then in hard copy form in the library – do not
cite them as “web sources” or “electronic sources” and DO NOT include the name of the
distribution company! Science Direct, EBSCO, JSTOR, and Springer are simply paid to supply
the electronic journals and have nothing to do with writing the articles.
Dibble, H.L., S.P. McPherron, D. Sandgathe, P. Goldberg, A. Turq, and M. Lenoir. 2009. Context,
Curation, and Bias: an evaluation of the Middle Paleolithic collections of Combe Grenal.
Journal of Archaeological Science 36:2540-2550.
E-journals are accessible to registered students through the university library site. If you were not
a student at a university you would have to pay for such online access to a journal.
BAD: Websites
There is, of course, a huge range of sources of information on any subject imaginable on the web
today. However, anybody can claim to be an expert on a topic and post all sorts of data and
arguments to support their views and there is no control over the quality, reliability, or
truthfulness of these. They are sometimes good sources of references (journal articles and edited
volumes are often cited on a website), which can then be tracked down, but as sources of
information themselves they should not be used and should NOT be cited in academic papers.
This includes university websites, museum websites and Wikipedia – Wikipedia is NOT an
appropriate reference in a university paper!!
Websites are a great source of images. However, if these are included in a paper they MUST be
referenced properly. Some effort should be made to find the original source of an image as well.
It is not a bad idea to visit the websites of well established institutions (museums, universities)
for some types of information. For example, if you are looking for details about a specific fossil
hominin skull, its date of discovery, who found it, its official reference designation, etc., these
types of data are often found on museum websites.
either books or journal articles and should be formatted in your bibliography accordingly.
has no relevance what so ever.
Finally, students’ access to literature resources and their ability to carry out literature searches on
a specific topic have never been easier. Google Scholar, for example, is a great tool. Papers that
do not include in their references some of the most current and most relevant sources on a
subject will lose significant marks.
Helpful hints for writing an academic/technical paper:
Make a detailed outline before you start. This outline will undoubtedly change as you learn more
about the topic, but having an initial outline will keep you focused and help to clarify your line
of thought.
Use headings and subheadings liberally.
It is possible to have too many subheadings, but that is much more difficult to do than to have
too few.
Consult published articles to see how others make use of headings and subheadings – often these
will come directly from your outline.
The Actual Writing Process
Construct every sentence CAREFULLY. Pay attention that the tense is consistent and that verbs
and adverbs and nouns and adjectives agree.
Good sentences are CRAFTED and are rarely good enough in their initial form. Details matter!
As you are constructing a sentence read it carefully several times and ask yourself:
 Does it really say what I think it does?
 Does it really say what I want it to?
Several not so good sentences that I have collected from student papers:
 “Residue analysis is chemically conducted in the lab”

One does not “chemically conduct” any analysis. One might carry out ‘chemical
 “The language is classified as Voltaic and has 15 incomprehensible dialects”
 Perhaps ‘mutually’ incomprehensible?
 “These two hypotheses are relatively different, as they contradict each other.”
 First of all, “relatively different” is redundant. If two things are different then the
“relative” part is implied. Secondly, two theories that contradict each other are well
beyond being just “relatively different”
 ‘The lack of solid evidence has yet to succeed in proving this to be true”

Well, this is just plain silly.
The number of sentences in a 10 to 12 page paper is not too high to spend some time on each
one. Write several drafts of your paper (I would never show you a first draft of something I
wrote). Try reading it aloud to yourself. And GET A FRIEND TO PROOFREAD IT AS WELL!
Professors who have been publishing papers for 40 years will ALWAYS get colleagues to read
them over before they submit them to journals. This is particularly important if English is not
your first language. It is very simple to have at least one other person proofread your work in
order to improve it. If you turn in a paper that has clearly NOT been proofread, you can expect a
very poor grade.
Keep sentences as simple as possible. Do not try to sound more sophisticated by constructing as
complicated sentences as possible. There is nothing unsophisticated about short, concise, simple
sentences – your reader will appreciate this!
Use the simplest language as possible. There are some specific technical terms appropriate to
each scientific discipline which the reader can expect to need to know, but the writer should
avoid using unnecessary jargon. Do not try to make your writing sound more sophisticated and
technical by using unnecessary terms – it doesn’t work anyway. For example, unless you are
actually using the word “utilize” in one of those very rare situations where it is appropriate and
distinct from the word “use”, then just use the word “use”.
Thought Flow
Sentences and ideas have to flow into each other. That is, the information and ideas expressed in
each sentence must follow a logical train of thought. They should not jump around. When a
sentence no longer logically flows from the previous one, start a new paragraph.
Hyperbole and sensationalism
Avoid unnecessary adjectives. Do not try to make your topic “sensational!” or “fascinating!” by
using those words – the reader will decide these things themselves.
If a thing is actually interesting to the reader, it is not made more so to a reader by calling it
“interesting” or worse yet, “VERY interesting”.
Bad adjectives = magnificent, huge, tremendous, incredible, epic, amazing, vast
Good adjectives = large, small, significant, important
Use only prosaic language! You are not writing a novel or a script for a Discovery Channel
special. Do not use dialogue (do not write as if you are speaking to the reader). Keep your
language objective, do not include expressions of your own emotions, and do not try to illicit
emotions from the reader. Keep words like: vibrant, bountiful, mysterious, and chilling out. The
goal of technical papers is to present data and concepts in a clear, easily understood form –
nothing more.
X “The remoteness of the island, its small size, lack of natural resources, and devastating
typhoons must have encouraged the Okinawans to move overseas, dreaming of something new.”
(this would be bad even where creative writing is acceptable)
Avoid absolutes and qualitative expressions that are meaningless:
“successful civilization”
“greatest civilization”
“highest achievement in culture”
Do not use clichés
“…rocking the city to its foundation”
Passive Voice?
Although the ‘passive voice’ is frowned upon by English teachers, in sciences like archaeology
and physical anthropology, it is often appropriate. It is the case that Archaeologists and Physical
Anthropologists very often base their interpretations and conclusions on particularly vague and
incomplete data, in which case making absolute statements may be unwarranted and even
Pet peeves of mine:
1/ Use proper quantitative adjectives
Quantitative terms include those applied to countable things and those applied to masses of
material (measured volumetrically or by weight).
Countable (numbers of ‘things’)
“fewer” vs “more”
Volumetric (quantity of ‘stuff’)
“less” vs “more”
A good way to remember this is: “with less water there are fewer drops”
You should not say “There are less bones in this collection” any more than you would say “The
lake has fewer water this year.” Both are wrong X!.
 “This collection has fewer bones.” and
 “There is less water in the lake this year.”
2/ Use the word ‘relatively’ and relative terms properly
Do not use relative terms like ‘longer’, ‘shorter’, ‘thinner’, or ‘wider’ WITH the term ‘relatively’.
X “The skull of this hominin species is relatively longer than that species”
X “The cranial capacity of Neandertals is larger relative to Homo erectus”
This is redundant. If something is ‘longer’ then the ‘relative to another thing’ part is implied.
 ” Neandertals have a large mean cranial capacity relative to Homo erectus”
 ” Neandertals mean cranial capacity is larger than that of Homo erectus ”
You might consider buying a good English style guide (e.g., Shrunk and White’s The Elements
of Style) although you can find information on proper English grammar and syntax online.
Using the Library: If you are not familiar with the college/university library system and how to
find and access relevant literature, ask the reference librarians to show you how to conduct a
library search – TAKE NOTES, because knowing how to use the library effectively will save you
a lot of time and improve the quality of your work over the rest of your academic career.
The librarian can direct you to all the major journals (hard copy or online) associated with a
specific discipline like Physical or Biological Anthropology.
Some of the Major Journals for Archaeology/Anthropology:
General Archaeology
Current Anthropology
Journal of Anthropological Archaeology
Journal of Archaeological Method and
Journal of Archaeological Science
Journal of Field Archaeology
Public Library of Science (PloS)
Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences (PNAS)
World Archaeology
Cambridge Archaeological Journal
Cambridge Archaeological Review
Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
Before Farming
Journal of World Prehistory
African Archaeological Review
Journal of Anthropological Research
American Antiquity
Palaeolithic Archaeology
Physical/Biological Anthropology
Quaternary Science
Journal of Human
American Anthropologist
Journal of Human Evolution
American Journal of Physical
Quaternary International
Evolutionary Anthropology
Lithic Technology
International Journal of
American J of Human Biology
Research Paper Topics
References specific to some of these topics can be found in the textbook. However, all these topics will require some
research involving academic journals that specialize in human evolution and human prehistory, in order to find the
most up-to-date and pertinent articles.
Once you
know which journals are most likely to have articles pertinent to your topic, you can search for them using key words
and authors’ names. Also, once you have found one or more sources (e.g., articles, books) dealing with your topic, you
can look through their reference lists to find even more pertinent sources.
1. Climate has long been seen as a primary factor that influences, if not drives, major evolutionary changes in human
anatomy and physiology. Critically examine some of these theories (e.g., climate change and bipedalism) and the
available evidence that supports or refutes them.
2. Critically evaluate the mainstream scientific interpretations that have been suggested for the cave paintings, dating
to the Upper Palaeolithic (35,000 to 12,000 years BP), that are found in France and Spain.
3. Critically examine the evidence for the development of the use of fire by early hominins.
4. Critically evaluate the major hypotheses that have been proposed to explain the emergence of obligate bipedalism
in early hominins.
5. Critically examine the evidence of and hypotheses about when, where, and, perhaps, how spoken language first
emerged in humans.
6. Critically examine the evidence and arguments that have been presented about the role meat-eating has played in
human evolution over the last 2 to 3 million years.

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