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By David L. Clarke

This learn was once well-established as a pioneer paintings on archaeological method, the theoretical foundation of all archaeological research regardless of the interval or period. the 1st variation of the e-book awarded and evaluated the unconventional alterations in technique which derived from advancements in different disciplines, akin to cybernetics, desktop technology and geography, through the Nineteen Fifties and ‘60s. It argued that archaeology was once a coherent self-discipline with its personal equipment and approaches and tried to outline the entities (attributes, artefacts, forms, assemblages, cultures and tradition teams) carefully and constantly in order that they might be utilized to archaeological facts. The later version persisted an analogous common thought, that is unprecedented in its scope and intensity, including notes to assist knowing of the advances in technique and concept to aid the coed archaeologist.

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"One may possibly enterprise that this can be crucial archaeological paintings for twenty or thirty years, and it'll absolutely impression a number of destiny generations of archaeologists." the days Literary Supplement

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Additional resources for Analytical Archaeology

Example text

V Terminology, definition and meaning In an earlier section it was suggested that the single most restricting factor in the development of archaeology as a discipline was the ambiguous and inexplicit terminology. It would be naive to suppose that defining our terms carefully and precisely would remove this barrier, although it would certainly contribute more than any other single action. A certain range of variation in the meaning of words is unavoidable and provides a welcome flexibility which in some cases can amount to predictive suggestion by inferring the unexpectedly wide but still valid scope of the terminology - even a word can be a predictive model!

The expression of archaeological results may call for nicely written historical narrative but this is a matter of choosing one particular vehicle to convey results obtained by quite alien methods. The danger of historical narrative as a vehicle for archaeological results is that it pleases by virtue of its smooth coverage and apparent finality, whilst the data on which it is based are never comprehensive, never capable of supporting but one interpretation and rest upon complex prob­ abilities. Archaeological data are not historical data and consequently archaeology is not history.

Given great care, a large quantity of first class archaeological data, precise definition and rigorous use of terms, and a good archaeological model, then we may with a margin of error be able to identify an archaeologi­ cal entity in approximate social and historical terms. But this is the best we can do and it is in any case only one of the aims of archaeolo­ gical activity. The reconstruction of a historical or social picture of prehistoric cultures, written in historical narrative, is a valid but incidental and dangerous aspect of archaeology.

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