Review of Adventures in Fugawiland



About this document



Adventures in Fugawiland a Computer Simulation in Archaeology, 2nd ed.

Hardware Requirements:
PC: CPU 80286 or newer, 2MB RAM, VGA monitor with 256 colors, Windows 3.x or Windows 95, or OS/2 Warp with win-OS/2 or WARP and Windows 3.x. I ran it on a 486 IBM Thinkpad; the following description is based on the PC version.
Macintosh: All Macintosh machines with a hard drive (with 2.5 MB of available space) and at least 4 MB RAM. Color monitor preferred. System 7.x.

I used the simulation as an exercise in an introductory archaeology/anthropology class at a large state college; the course itself was not a methods and theory class, but an overview of archaeology and early civilizations. The class consisted of 27 students, who ranged from first semester freshman to graduating seniors. There were no prerequisites for the class, so that although there were several anthropology majors scattered in among the class, the majority of the students were neophytes in anthropology and archaeological theory and practice. The class spent 6 weeks studying Robert J. Sharer and Wendy Ashmore, Archaeology, Discovering Our Past, 2nd ed. (Mayfield Publishing Co. 1993) before they began the Fugawiland project so that they had had a thorough exposure to the basics. I then gave them several weeks to complete the program as an independent exercise, in lieu of a standard research paper.

The simulation comes with a book and a single 3 1/2 inch floppy disk, in either MAC or PC format. The program itself is relatively unsophisticated as can be assumed from the requirement of only a 80826 chip, or a generic Macintosh. The book is divided into five parts:
- a brief introduction and installation instructions
- an overview of archaeological survey and excavation methods and terminology
- instructions on how to use the computer program
- a workbook to guide the user through the analysis of the data
- a section for "further study" that includes a bibliography, glossary, and index.

The overview of archaeology, "Doing Archaeology," is adequate if somewhat too simplified. The explanations of stratigraphy, for example, ignore potential disturbances (except for pits) and problems associated with secondary deposits. Similarly, the discussions of phosphate analysis and C-14 dating ignore contamination issues. The brief description of archaeological field methods for survey and excavation is somewhat out-of date; there is no discussion of the use of computers and digital data in the field or in analysis and interpretation. My final and most serious criticism is that there is no discussion of ethical issues involved with excavations of burials, even through most of the "sites" include one or more burials. Such issues, however, can be covered during classroom discussions, and the information given by the text is sufficient for the immediate tasks. It does provide the student with a quick reference as he or she "excavates" and analyzes the data presented by the program. In addition, if the student pays close attention to this section, there are numerous hints to guide his or her modeling of the culture. For example, the hypothetical seasonal subsistence pattern given on page 38 is exactly what will be revealed by a well- planned research design.

Similarly in the third part "Using the Computer Program," there are numerous hints to help the student interpret the data. There is no formal tutorial, but the instructions given are adequate for all but the true beginner or most computer-phobic student. The user navigates through the program using simple menus. Each menu and submenu is described in this section as well as in an on-line help menu that uses standard windowing protocols. A few minutes spent playing with the menus should be sufficient to familiarize most