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Origins and Development of Archaeological Theory

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Christian Palmer

on 25 August 2018

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Transcript of Origins and Development of Archaeological Theory

Origins and Development of Archaeological Theory
Development of Archaeological Theory
Stratigraphic Methods and Seriation (activity)
Classification of cultural groups according to archaeological records- typologies

V. Gordon Childe (1892-1957)
The connection of material artifacts with social and economic transformations
Move away from recovery and classification and towards theory
New Archaeology (Processual)- 1960s
Lewis Binford (1931-2011)

Scientific Emphasis
Hypothesis testing
Inclusion of biology, ecology, and other natural sciences
Explanatory not descriptive
Focus on processes over history
Quantitative vs qualitative

Systems Theory
Feedback systems and dynamic cultural change and stability
Cultural Resources Management
Historic Preservation Legislation
Local Community Input
Post-Processual Archaeology
Interpretive instead of scientific approach
Recognizes human subjectivity in the science and the role of culture in shaping science

emic vs etic approach

Feminist Archaeology
Challenges the study of "man"
"The main thing to remember is that every view of the past is a product of it's own time: ideas and theories are constantly evolving and so are methods"
(Renfrew and Bahn, 15)
Development of Science
Organizing Time- 3-Age system
Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages
Paleolithic and Neolithic (polished stone tools)

Geology- Age of the Earth
Stratigraphy- layers of earth
Catastrophism vs Uniformitarianism

Darwin- Evolution by natural selection

Social Evolution
E.B. Tylor, Lewis Henry Morgan-
3 stages, savagery, barbarism, civilization
Imperialism, and Archaeology
The First Archaeologists
Antiquarians- Greece, Egypt, China, Aztecs

Renaissance- excavation of Greek, Roman, and
Celtic sites to understand
the Past

Thomas Jefferson's excavation of mounds- stratigraphy and logical deductions

19th Century Developments
Great Chain of Being
Summary:Archaeological Development Over Time
Early Archaeology
Processual Archaeology
Regional Chronologies
Cultural History- diffusion
Data Accumulation
Hypothesis Testing
Focus on processes
Quantitative and statistical
Social organization and development over time
Marxism and social awareness
Awareness of power
Challenges scientific objectivity
Feminist approach
Indigenous input
Cultural Resources Management

Testing Your Knowledge
Pick an ancient civilization
Describe how an archaeologist would examine that culture from 3 of the perspectives above
Matching archaeological theories game
Thought Question:
What do you know about archaeology?
What do you want to learn?

Summary of Development in Archaeology
Personal Collections
National Museums and Nationalist Archaeology
Create a sense of national pride and history
Marxist Anthropology
Full transcript