In this concise, friendly textbook, Patricia Urban and Edward Schortman teach the basics of archaeological theory, making explicit the crucial link between theory and the actual conduct of archaeological research. The first half of the text addresses the general nature of theory, as well as how it is used in the social sciences and in archaeology in particular. To demonstrate the usefulness of theory, the authors draw from research at Stonehenge, Mesopotamia, and their own long-term research project in the Naco Valley of Honduras. They show how theory becomes meaningful when it is used by very real individuals to interpret equally real materials. These extended narratives exemplify the creative interaction between data and theory that shape our understanding of the past. Ideal for introductory courses in archaeological theory.
Many students view archaeological theory as a subject distinct from field research. This division is reinforced by the way theory is taught, often in stand-alone courses that focus more on logic and reasoning than on the application of ideas to fieldwork. Divorcing thought from action does not convey how archaeologists go about understanding the past. This book bridges the gap between theory and practice by looking in detail at how the authors and their colleagues used theory to interpret what they found while conducting research in northwest Honduras. This is not a linear narrative. Rather, the book highlights the open-ended nature of archaeological investigations in which theories guide research whose findings may challenge these initial interpretations and lead in unexpected directions. Pursuing those novel investigations requires new theories that are themselves subject to refutation by newly gathered data. The central case study is the writers’ work in Honduras. The interrelations of fieldwork, data, theory, and interpretation are also illustrated with two long-running archaeological debates, the emergence of inequality in southern Mesopotamia and inferring the ancient meanings of Stonehenge. The book is of special interest to undergraduate Anthropology/Archaeology majors and first- and second-year graduate students, along with anyone interested in how archaeologists convert the static materials we find into dynamic histories of long-vanished people.
Is archaeology an art or a science? This question has been hotly debated over the last few decades with the rise of archaeological science. At the same time, archaeologists have seen a change in the intellectual character of their discipline, as many writers have adopted approaches influenced by social theory. The discipline now encompasses both archaeological scientists and archaeological theorists, and discussion regarding the status of archaeology remains polarised. In this 2001 book, Andrew Jones argues that we need to analyse the practice of archaeology. Through an analysis of archaeological practice, influenced by recent developments in the field of science studies, and with the aid of extensive case studies, he develops a new framework which allows the interpretative and methodological components of the discipline to work in tandem. His reassessment of the status and character of archaeology will be of interest to students, scholars and professionals.
In this latest collection of his articles, of which seven are written especially for this volume, Ian Hodder captures and continues the lively controversy of the 1980s over symbolic and structural approaches to archaeology. The book acts as an overview of the developments in the discipline over the last decade; yet Hodder's brief is far wider. His aim is to break down the division between the intellectual and the "dirt" archaeologist to demonstrate that in this discipline more than any other, theory must be related to practice to save effectively our rapidly diminishing heritage.
Theory in Archaeology tackles important questions about the diversity in archaeological theory and practice which face the discipline in the 1990s. What is the relationship between theory and practice? How does `World' archaeological theory differ from `European'? Can one be a good practitioner without theory? This unique book brings together contributors from many different countries and continents to provide the first truly global perspective on archaeological theory. They examine the nature of material culture studies and look at problems of ethnicity, regionalism, and nationality. They consider, too, another fundamental of archaeological inquiry: can our research be objective, or must `the past' always be a relativistic construction? Theory in Archaeology is an important book whose authors bring together very different perceptions of the past. Its wide scope and interest will attract an international readership among students and academics alike.
Archaeological Theory in the New Millennium provides an account of the changing world of archaeological theory and a challenge to more traditional narratives of archaeological thought. It charts the emergence of the new emphasis on relations as well as engaging with other current theoretical trends and the thinkers archaeologists regularly employ. Bringing together different strands of global archaeological theory and placing them in dialogue, the book explores the similarities and differences between different contemporary trends in theory while also highlighting potential strengths and weaknesses of different approaches. Written in a way to maximise its accessibility, in direct contrast to many of the sources on which it draws, Archaeological Theory in the New Millennium is an essential guide to cutting-edge theory for students and for professionals wishing to reacquaint themselves with this field.
A lively and accessible introduction to themes and debates in archaeological theory for students of all levels Archaeological Theory is a relatable, accessible, reader-friendly first step into the world of theory for archaeology students. Recognizing that many students shy away from the study of theory for fear that the material is too difficult or obscure, Archaeological Theory maintains that any student can develop an understanding of theory and that a knowledge of theory will lead to better practice. As one of the leading texts for introductory courses in archaeology and archaeological theory, it has provided many students with the essential foundation for a complete education in the discipline. With a focus on clarifying the history and development of archaeological theory, this valuable text serves as a roadmap to the different schools of theory in archaeology, clarifying the foundations of these schools of thought, the relationships between them, and the ideas that distinguish each from the other. Students will also learn about the relationship between archaeology and cultural and political developments, the origins of New and ‘post-processual’ archaeology, and current issues shaping the field. Written in a clear and informal style and incorporating examples, cartoons, and dialogues, this text provides an ideal introduction for students at all levels. The revised third edition has been updated with new and revised chapters and an expanded glossary and bibliography, as well as new readings to guide further study. Engages readers with informal and easy-to-understand prose, as well as examples, cartoons, and informal dialogues Prepares students to understand complex topics and current and perennial issues in the field such as epistemology, agency, and materiality in the context of archaeological practice Discusses current developments in associated disciplines New and revised chapters on the material turn, politics and other issues, and an expanded glossary and bibliography with updated reading suggestions Offers expanded coverage of materiality, cultural-historical archaeology, evolutionary theory, and the work of scholars of diverse backgrounds and specializations Engaging and illuminating, Archaeological Theory is an indispensable resource for undergraduate and graduate students in archaeology and related disciplines.
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.
This Reader in Archaeological Theory presents sixteen articles of key theoretical significance, in a format which makes this notoriously complex area easier for students to understand. This volume: * provides an intellectual history of different approaches to archaeology which contextualizes the complex traditions of cognitive archaeology and postprocessualism on which it focuses * organizes theories of archaeology, the meanings of things, the prehistoric mind and cognition, gender, ideology and social theory and archaeology's relationship to today's society and politics * includes lucid section introductions to each section which provide context, explain why the papers are so significant and summarize their key points * emphasizes research from the 'New World', making archaeological theory especially relevant and accessible to students in North America.