ARCH 201 Week 12 Lecture
Explanation in Archaeology
Probably too much for this course
Going to arch department today for tours.
Principle goals of arch
•Explain mechanisms of culture change - why does stuff change though time?
•Must outline cultural history
•Description and chronologically ordering of artifacts
•Spatial distributions - where is stuff?
•Data collection, organizing
•Reconstruct last life ways - what did individual people do? Eh were third goals
•Subsistance and diet, settlement, trade
•What are mechanisms behind?
•Central idea of Binford's arch
•Early arch more interested in descriptions
•Hardest question: Why?
•We can see how and what, but why? Why! = how. But how is first step.
•Finding mech - ask how.
•Why is identifying motivational factors
•We know the what and how of agriculture, but not why
•Early arch: invention, migration, diffusion is how they explained it. Sometimes it's this, but not usually.
•Diffusion used to be THE BIGGEST THING - ie, Heliocentric period
•These things are just mechanisms how, not why - don't address why something was invented,
incorporated into culture
•If migrated in, why adopted?
Forms of Explanations
•more and more events leading up to something, explain one thing. Historical - knowing more about local
history will help us understand better
•If relates to one person, idealist explanation
•Very common until 1950s
•Explain more than just one vent, explain everything
•Processural really into this
•Understand general and natural laws, cultural laws: x always implies y. Ceramics always imply agriculture •Account for events with detailed antecedents, general laws
•Antecedent circumstances + law = event
•Deductive-Nomothetic reasoning is this type of reasoning ^
•Called so because it relies on law like circumstances