1 Data set
The data set we have selected for this exercise is a shrine on the seaside. This shrine contains many objects. There would be around 50 objects inside and in the outside area of the shrine. This shrine is in an Eastern country. The objects in the shrine are mostly architectural objects; however, there are also other objects available in it that have been put there. The shrine has classical architecture which is a single house that contains the grave of a saint. It has an ornate tomb-like structure. The grave is made up of white marble. Some devotees have put an embroidered blanket on the grave. Furthermore, there is also a turban on the head of the grave. The devotees and management of the shrine also burn incenses inside, which are put in holders in the niches, designed in the shrine walls. Accordingly, there is also the good fragrance of incense in the shrine.
2 Problem statement
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It is very important for a student of archaeology to find out about the period of life of a saint buried in this shrine. The shrine is old enough to suggest that it is several centuries old. However, the researchers want to know the exact epoch of time in which this saint existed. The obelisk on the grave and the one outside in the shrine veranda do not tell about the date of birth or the date of demise of that saint. On the contrary, the name o a saint given there is also said to be a hoax. It is clear that the obelisks do not provide any information at all to know about a saint buried in there. However, it is clear that a saint is actually buried in there and the grave is not empty. Consequently, our research question is as to what is the period of life of this saint buried in the shrine. We have already mentioned that the shrine is about 200 years old (built circa 1813 AD). Accordingly, our hypothesis is whether a saint died around 1813 AD when the shrine was built upon his or her death. The alternative hypothesis is that the shrine was built later around 1813 AD while a saint was buried there long before that.
3 Categories of evidence
We need to select two binary categories of evidence to check our hypothesis. These are original architectural objects versus renovated architectural objects and daily objects versus occasional objects.
The marble on the grave was not used two centuries ago. Therefore, it is renovated. The tiles on the exterior of the architecture are dated, and appeal as originally applied to the architecture. The shrine has no other grave, and it is not located in a cemetery. The obelisks are new and are pieces of the renovated architecture. The niches in the walls are original and were used for putting oil lamps in them.
Incense sticks are burned daily by the devoteees. The embroidered blanket on the grave and turban are replaced annually.
We could not find evidence regarding our hypothesis that the shrine was built upon the death of a saint. Accordingly, the shrine was built after a saint was already buried at the current place for a long time. We reach this conclusion as the marble grave was furnished long after the building of the shrine. The tiles of the shrine are original and have not been changed, indicating that the shrine is old. There is no other grave proving that the shrine was built long after the death of a saint. Had there been more graves we would have known that the shrine was built when a saint was buried in the cemetery. The new obelisks on the grave prove that the information contained in them is false, since a saint was buried there long before and was unknown. The niches show that the shrine was built for public attraction. Therefore, it was built afterwards. Finally, the daily incense burning indicates that it was started once the shrine was built. The blanket and turban adorn the new marbled grave.
5 Sample characteristics
Our sample was representative and showed all aspects of the shrine and its history. Accordingly, the sample size was adequate and told us all about the shrine and its architectural timeline.