I show how archaeologists have two problems. The construction of scenarios accounting for the raw data of Archaeology, the material remains of the past, and the explanation of pre-history. Within Archaeology, there has been an ongoing debate about how to constrain speculation within both of these archaeological projects, and archaeologists have consistently looked to biological mechanisms for constraints. I demonstrate the problems of using biology, either as an analogy for cultural processes or through direct application of biological principles (...) to material remains. This is done through setting out the requirements of a Darwinian Archaeology, and then measuring various approaches against these requirements. This approach leads to the conclusion that archaeologist's explanations of the past must include within their formulations an account of human cognitive capacities within their explanatory framework. The limits of our understanding of the human past will be the limits of our understanding of Homo sapiens. (shrink)
Interpretive Archaeologies provides a forum for debate between varied approaches to studying the past. It reflects the profound shift in the direction of archaeological study in the last fifteen years. The book argues that archaeologists must understand their own subjective approaches to the material they study as well as recognize how past researchers imposed their value systems on the evidence they presented. The book's authors, drawn from Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia, represent many different strands of archaeology. They (...) address the philosophical issues involved in interpretation and the origins of meaning in the evolution and emergence of "mind" in early hominids. They discuss the ways in which material culture is understood and presented in museums, and how the nature of history is itself in flux. (shrink)
This paper offers a rereading of Foucault's much-disputed mid-career historiographical shift to genealogy from his earlier archaeological analytic. Disputing the usual view that this shift involves an abandonment of an archaeological method that was then replaced by a genealogical method, I show that this shift is better conceived as a historiographical expansion. Foucault's work subsequent to this shift should be understood as invoking both genealogy and archaeology. The metaphor of expansion is helpful in clarifying what was involved in Foucault's (...) historiographical shift. I describe two expansions at the heart of Foucault's move. First, Foucault went from analyzing singular isolable domains of practice (such as knowledge) to analyzing the interactions between multiple domains of practice (such as power/knowledge). Second, Foucault went from an analytic which relied on a single temporal category of rupture to an analytic which invoked the relations amongst multiple temporalities, including continuity alongside discontinuity in his subsequent analyses. (shrink)
This companion volume to Archaeology as Long-term History focuses on the symbolism of artefacts. It seeks at once to refine current theory and method relating to interpretation and show, with examples, how to conduct this sort of archaeological work. Some contributors work with the material culture of modern times or the historic period, areas in which the symbolism of mute artefacts has traditionally been thought most accessible. However, the book also contains a good number of applications in prehistory to (...) demonstrate the feasibility of symbolic interpretation where good contextual data survive from the distant past. In relation to wider debates within the social sciences, the volume is characterised by a concern to place abstract symbolic codes within their historical context and within the contexts of social actions. In this respect, it develops further some of the ideas presented in Dr Hodder's Symbolic and Structural Archaeology, an earlier volume in this series. (shrink)
This groundbreaking work considers one of the central themes of archaeology, time, which until recently has been taken for granted. It considers how time is used and perceived by archaeology and also how time influences the construction of identities. The book presents case studies, eg, transition from hunter gather to farming in early Neolithic, to examine temporality and identity. Drawing upon the work of Martin Heidegger, Thomas develops a way of writing about the past in which time is (...) seenm as central to the emergence of the identities of peoples and things. He questions the modern western distinction between nature and culture, mind and body, object and subject, and argues that in some senses the temporal structure of human beings, artefacts and places are similar. (shrink)
Is gender determined by biology, society or experience? How have notions of gender and sexuality differed in past societies? Addressing such questions, Gender and Archaeology is the first critical introduction to the field of gender archaeology as it has evolved over the last two decades. It examines the impact of feminist perspectives on archaeology and shows the unique insights that gender archaeology offers on topics like the sexual division of labor, issues of sexuality, and the embodiment (...) of gender identity. A substantial case study of gender and space in the medieval English castle lucidly draws together and illustrates these issues. Comprehensive and accessible, Gender and Archaeology is sure to further debate in the field. (shrink)
Agency in Archaeology is the first critical volume to scrutinize the concept of agency and to examine in-depth its potential to inform our understanding of the past. Theories of agency recognize that human beings make choices, hold intentions and take action. This offers archaeologists scope to move beyond looking at the broad structural or environmental change and instead to consider the individual and the group. The book brings together nineteen internationally renowned scholars who have very different, and often conflicting, (...) stances on the meaning and use of agency theory to archaeology. (shrink)
Archaeology can provide two bodies of information relevant to the understanding of the evolution of human cognition – the timing of developments, and the evolutionary context of these developments. The challenge is methodological. Archaeology must document attributes that have direct implications for underlying cognitive mechanisms. One example of such a cognitive archaeology is found in spatial cognition. The archaeological record documents an evolutionary sequence that begins with ape-equivalent spatial abilities 2.5 million years ago and ends with the (...) appearance of modern abilities in the still remote past of 400,000 years ago. The timing of these developments reveals two major episodes in the evolution in spatial ability, one, 1.5 million years ago and the other, one million years later. The two episodes of development in spatial cognition had very different evolutionary contexts. The first was associated with the shift to an open country adaptive niche that occurred early in the time range of Homo erectus. The second was associated with no clear adaptive shift, though it does appear to have coincided with the invasion of more hostile environments and the appearance of systematic hunting of large mammals. Neither, however, occurred in a context of modern hunting and gathering. Key Words: Archaeology; evolution; Homo erectus; spatial cognition; symmetry. (shrink)
Part I: Archaeology and Anaximander's cosmic picture : an historical narrative -- Anaximander, architectural historian of the cosmos -- Why did Anaximander write a prose book rationalizing the cosmos? -- A survey of the key techniques that Anaximander observed at the architects building sites -- An imaginative visit to an ancient Greek building site -- Anaximander's cosmic picture : the size and shape of the earth -- The doxographical reports -- The scholarly debates over the text and its interpretations (...) -- The archaeological evidence -- Anaximander's cosmic picture : the homoios earth, 9, and the cosmic wheels -- The doxographical reports -- The scholarly debates over the text and its interpretations -- The archaeological evidence -- Anaximander's cosmic picture : the bellows and cosmic breathing -- The doxographical reports -- The scholarly debates over the text and its interpretations -- The archaeological evidence -- Anaximander's cosmic picture : the heavenly circle-wheels and the axis mundi -- The doxographical reports -- The scholarly debates over the text and its interpretations -- The archaeological evidence -- Anaximander's cosmic picture : reconstructing the seasonal sundial for the archaeologist's investigations -- The doxographical reports -- The scholarly debates over the text and its interpretations -- Reconstructing the sundial for the archaeologist's explorations -- Objecting arguments and summary -- Part about the origins of philosophy -- The problems : archaeology and the origins of philosophy -- The problem of philosophical rationality and cultural context -- The problem of archaeology and Greek philosophy -- What is the archaeologist theoretical frame when inferring ideas from artefacts from artifacts? -- A short historical overview of theoretical archaeology -- How is archaeology relevant to a philosopher's mentality? -- A synoptic overview of archaeological theory -- Post-processual or interpretative archaeology -- Some conclusions about archaeological interpretation -- The interpretative meaning of an object : grounding historical narratives in lived-experience -- The imaginative meaning of an artefact -- Philosophical strategies for making sense of the real -- The embodied ground of abstract and speculativethought -- The matter of mind : an archaeological approach to ancient -- John Dewey and William James on the context of consciousness -- Thinking through metaphor and the body of knowledge -- Archaeology and future research in ancient philosophy : the two methods -- The method of discovery -- The method of exposition -- The application of archaeology to ancient philosophy : metaphysical foundations and historical narratives -- The realism in narrative accounts -- The hopelessness of metaphysical realism -- Crafting a case for experiential realism : the argument of part II -- The presence of the past and the problem of the supracelestial thesis. (shrink)
Recent archaeological theory has show that images of the past have carried a particularly strong resonance within modern social groups. This volume explores the immeasurable impact that the phenomenon of archaeology has had on the representation of the past in the modern world. Modern society’s ‘archaeological imagination’ conceives of archaeology as a producer of images of the past which become representations of modern group identities. If archaeology is utilized by public groups to construct and represent identities, then (...) what are archaeologists to do with that public? The very fact that the public is interested in the past and in archaeological research is an opportunity for archaeology to engage that public. Participation in the public’s modern interest in archaeology, however, puts archaeology at risk. The growing role of archaeology and heritage within the economics of tourism, has led to a commodification of archaeological knowledge and experience for consumption. This volume begins a discourse on the implications of performing archaeology in a world dominated by modern trends of mass production, mass replication and representation of cultural forms and mass consumption of images of the past. The contributors explore to what extent we are experiencing a crisis of representation of the past due to contemporary consumption of mass-produced replicas, simulations, images and experiences of the past. To work through this crisis the contributors in this volume are exploring opportunities for development within archaeological thought and practice. Their arguments illustrate a move towards active, participatory and poetic archaeological thought and practice. Rather than focusing on what is produced through process (artifacts, monuments, interpretive centers, etc.), they are concerned with what they are doing, about taking part, about participating reflexively in the tradition of understanding and expressing understanding of the past. This volume does not conjure up romantic beliefs about the project of archaeology, but rather, it signals a fundamental revision of archaeology - not what it is, but what it can do. (shrink)
This is the first book-length study to explore the relationship between archaeology and modern thought, showing how philosophical ideas that developed in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries still dominate our approach to the material remains of ancient societies. It discusses the modern emphasis on method rather than ethics or meaning, our understanding of change in history and nature, the role of the nation-state in forming our views of the past, and contemporary notions of human individuality, the mind, and materiality. (...) Julian Thomas also addresses the modern preoccupation with depth, which enables archaeology to be used as a metaphor in other disciplines. The book concludes by advocating a "counter-modern" archaeology that refuses to separate material evidence from political, moral, rhetorical, and aesthetic concerns, as well as meaning. (shrink)
A process-based approach to archaeology combines traditional third-person data collection methods with first- and second-person inquiries. Drawing from the traditions of cognitive archaeology, transpersonal psychology, and ecopsychology, this mixed-methods approach can be thought of as a movement toward a more holistic or “integral” archaeology. By way of example, a prehistoric rock art site on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua is explored from the inside (through the researcher's lucid dreaming incubations) as well as in relationship with the researcher's embodied presence (...) (an exploration of environmental hermeneutics). These multiple perspectives can be seen to situate the researcher's worldview and biases within the context of the study as well as perhaps lead to new questions about the significance of these cognitive artifacts. (shrink)
This volume gathers together a series of the canonical statements which have defined an interpretive archaeology. Many of these have been unavailable for some while, and others are drawn from inaccessible publications.
Continuing the work of the ‘Vienna Circle’, philosopher Carl Hempel created explanatory models to ground scientific inquiry in logic and empirical truth. Beginning with the physical sciences, he explored the application of these models to the social sciences as well. Terrestrial archaeologists incorporated Hempelian concepts by calling for global changes in archaeological methodology. These changes, explicitly designed to maximize data collection (a necessary first step to develop archaeological general laws crucial to Hempelian explanation and confirmation), were developed using particular idiosyncratic (...) geographical cues that would undermine archaeology if implemented in other contexts. In this article, I argue that similarly unconscious artifacts of particular archaeologists’ goals and locations have also governed underwater archaeology’s growth as a discipline, much to its detriment. It is my hope that understanding the philosophical and archaeological issues that have led archaeology to this point will help to move archaeology (both land and sea) forward. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction Geoffrey Scarre and Robin Coningham; Part I. Claiming the Past: 2. The values of the past James O. Young; 3. Whose past? archaeological knowledge, community knowledge, and the embracing of conflict Piotr Bienkowski; 4. The past people want: heritage for the majority? Cornelius Holtorf; 5. The ethics of repatriation: rights of possession and duties of respect Janna Thompson; 6. On archaeological ethics and letting go Larry J. Zimmerman; 7. Hintang and the dilemma of benevolence: (...)archaeology and ecotourism in Laos Anna Källén; Part II. Problems of Meaning and Method: 8. What is a crisis of intelligibility? Jonathan Lear; 9. Contesting religious claims over archaeological sites Elizabeth Burns Coleman; 10. Multivocality and 'wikiality': the epistemology and ethics of a pragmatic archaeology Alexander A. Bauer; 11. 'Do not do unto others...': cultural misrecognition and the harms of appropriation in an open-source world George P. Nicholas and Alison Wylie; 12. Should ruins be preserved? David E. Cooper; Part III: Problems of Ownership and Control: 13. Legal principles, political processes, and cultural property Tom Allen; 14. Monuments versus movables: state restrictions on cultural property rights David Garrard; 15. Looting or rededication? Buddhism and the expropriation of relics Robin Coningham and Prishanta Gunawardhana; 16. Partitioning the past: India's archaeological heritage after independence Nayanjot Lahiri. (shrink)
The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) has developed an extensive body of ethics guidelines for its members, most actively in the last two decades. This coincides with the period in which the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has taken a strong stand on the need for its affiliates to develop clear. enforceable codes of conduct. The ethics guidelines instituted by the SAA now realize the central recommendations of the AAAS, and in this they illustrate both the (...) importance and the limitations of these recommendations. (shrink)
The third edition of this classic introduction to archaeological theory and method has been fully updated to address the rapid development of theoretical debate throughout the discipline. Ian Hodder and Scott Hutson argue that archaeologists must consider a variety of perspectives in the complex and uncertain task of "translating the meaning of past texts into their own contemporary language". While remaining centered on the importance of meaning, agency and history, the authors explore the latest developments in post-structuralism, neo-evolutionary theory and (...) phenomenology. Previous Edition Hb (1991): 0-521-40142-9 Previous Edition Pb (1991): 0-521-40957-8. (shrink)
This fascinating volume integrates recent developments in anthropological and sociological theory with a series of detailed studies of prehistoric material culture. The authors explore the manner in which semiotic, hermeneutic, Marxist, and post-structuralist approaches radically alter our understanding of the past, and provide a series of innovative studies of key areas of interest to archaeologists and anthropologists.
This book questions the value of the concept of 'agency', a term used in sociological and philosophical literature to refer to individual free will in archaeology. On the one hand it has been argued that previous generations of archaeologists, in explaining social change in terms of structural or environmental conditions, have lost sight of the 'real people' and reduced them to passive cultural pawns, on the other, introducing the concept of agency to counteract this can be said to perpetuate (...) a modern, Western view of the autonomous individual who is free from social constraints. This book discusses the balance between these two opposites, using a range of archaeological and historical case studies, including European and Asian prehistory, classical Greece and Rome, the Inka and other Andean cultures. While focusing on the relevance of 'agency' theory to archaeological interpretation and using it to create more diverse and open-ended accounts of ancient cultures, the authors also address the contemporary political and ethical implications of what is essentially a debate about the definition of human nature. (shrink)
This is an important introduction to and critical interpretation of the work of the major French thinker, Michel Foucault. Through comprehensive and detailed analyses of such important texts as The History of Madness in the Age of Reason, The Birth of the Clinic, The Order of Things, and The Archaeology of Knowledge, the author provides a lucid exposition of Foucault's "archaeological" approach to the history of thought, a method for uncovering the "unconscious" structures that set boundaries on the thinking (...) of a given epoch. The book casts Foucault in a new light, relating his work to Gaston Bachelard's philosophy of science and Georges Canguilhem's history of science. This perspective yields a new and valuable understanding of Foucault as a historian and philosopher of science, balancing and complementing the more common view of him as primarily a social critic and theorist. (shrink)
Common sense is not enough -- The "new archaeology" -- Archaeology as a science -- Middle-range theory, ethnoarchaeology, and material culture studies -- Culture and process -- Thoughts and ideologies -- Postprocessual and interpretative archaeologies -- Archaeology, gender, and identity -- Archaeology and cultural evolution -- Archaeology and Darwinian evolution -- Archaeology and history -- Archaeology, politics and culture -- Conclusion : the future of theory.
I make two claims about cognitive archaeology. I question its role, seeing psychology as yet another contributor to the archaeological tool-kit rather than as something unique. I then suggest that cognitive archaeology is not in a position to provide evolutionary contexts without other disciplines. As a consequence it cannot deliver on the provision of evolutionary contexts for cognitive evolution.
In a recent journal article, as well as in a recent book chapter, in which she critiques my position on ‘indigenous knowledge’, Lesley Green of the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cape Town argues that ‘diverse epistemologies ought to be evaluated not on their capacity to express a strict realism but on their ability to advance understanding’. In order to examine the implications of Green’s arguments, and of Nelson Goodman and Catherine Elgin’s work in this regard, I (...) apply them to a well-known controversy between Native American (or First Nations) creationism and archaeology. I argue that issues in social justice should be distinguished from issues in epistemology. Moreover, in tightening in this paper the link between knowledge and truth, I attempt to defend science as a ‘privileged way of seeing the world’. The analysis of truth, and of related concepts like reality and ‘the way the world is’, will assume a central role here. I contend that, ultimately, the only coherent and consistent position is a realist view of the pertinent issues and ideas. (shrink)
With case studies from North America to Australia and South Africa and covering topics from archaeological ethics to the repatriation of human remains, this book charts the development of a new form of archaeology that is informed by indigenous values and agendas. This involves fundamental changes in archaeological theory and practice as well as substantive changes in the power relations between archaeologists and indigenous peoples. Questions concerning the development of ethical archaeological practices are at the heart of this process.
Since the l960s, archaeology has become increasingly taught in universities and practiced on a growing scale by national and local heritage agencies throughout the world. This book addresses the criticisms of postmodernist writers about archaeology's social role, and asserts its intellectual importance and achievements in discovering real facts about the human past. It looks forward to the creation of a truly global consciousness of the origins of human societies and civilizations.
This article reviews and contrasts research findings in a variety of disciplines seeking corroboration for theories of settlement in Madagascar. Evidence is considered from the fields of linguistics, archaeology (studies of pottery), cultural anthropology and genetic analysis, leading to conclusions broadly supporting the thesis of Austronesian migrations directly to Madagascar from Kalimantan and Sulawesi around the 5th and 7th centuries CE, which combined with a Bantu group originating from the region of Mozambique. The article nevertheless warns against attributing too (...) much to individual discipline studies, concluding that only genetic analysis can provide conclusive proof, and this only when informed by prior anthropological and historical indicators. (shrink)
In this paper, I study the application of phylogenetic analysis in evolutionary archaeology. I show how transfer of this apparently general analytic tool is affected by salient differences in disciplinary context. One is that archaeologists, unlike many biologists, do not regard cladistics as a tool for classification, but are primarily interested in explanation. The other is that explanation is traditionally sought in terms of individual-level rather than population-level mechanisms. The latter disciplinary difference creates an ambiguity in the application and (...) interpretation of phylogenetic analyses. Moreover, I argue that, while archaeologists have claimed that “cladistics is useful for reconstructing artefact phylogenies” (O’Brien et al. 2001), these reconstructions only contribute minimally to the explanatory research agenda of evolutionary archaeology. (shrink)
The emergence of cognitive science over the past thirty years has stimulated new approaches to traditional problems and materials in well-established disciplines. Those approaches have generated new insights and reinvigorated aspirations for theories in the sciences of the socio-cultural (about the structures and uses of symbols and the cognitive processes underlying them) that are both more systematic and more accountable empirically than the recently available alternatives. Without rejecting interpretive proposals, projects in both the cognitive science of religion and in cognitive (...)archaeology seek to redress imbalances within those disciplines favoring the interpretive over the explanatory. (See Lawson and McCauley, 1990 and Renfrew, 1994a, respectively.) Both projects aim to reinvigorate scientific aspirations without reviving any sort of scientistic or explanatory exclusivism. Both have arisen, in part, in response to the science-bashing crusades that have enjoyed such prominence in both disciplines over the past twenty years. With the exception, perhaps, of linguistics, the influence of cognitive science has been as notable in archaeology and religious studies as it has been in any discipline in contemporary intellectual life. In both disciplines new sub-fields have begun to thrive, which take theoretical inspiration from cognitive science and, at least sometimes, deploy its findings and, in the case of the cognitive science of religion, even its methods in the course of testing their theories. This paper contains three sections. The first provides a framework for thinking about the constituents of culture as a means both for situating ritual and for considering its accessibility to cognitive and archaeological analysis. The second section outlines our theory of religious ritual competence and the ritual form hypothesis. The final section reviews the theory=s predictions about an assortment of properties of both individual religious rituals and religious ritual systems. It includes occasional speculations about some of the theory=s possible implications for some archaeological matters. A word of caution before we begin .. (shrink)
Evolutionary theories of human cognition should refer to specific times in the primate or hominid past. Though alternative accounts of tool manufacture from Wynn's are possible (e.g., frontal lobe function), Wynn demonstrates the power of archaeology to guide cognitive theories. Many cognitive abilities evolved not in the “Pleistocene hunter-gatherer” context, but earlier, in the context of other patterns of social organization and foraging.