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ARH305H1 (19)
Lecture

Research Design

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Department
Archaeology
Course
ARH305H1
Professor
Gary Coupland
Semester
Fall

Description
Monday, September 19/11 Archaeological Interpretation G. Coupland Research Design Principle of Uniformitarianism • Laws operate today as they did in the past • Past can be inferred from what we observe in the present • This principle underlies ethnoarchaeology • Borrowed from geology • Works well in the natural world but doesn’t work well in cultural/human world • Has been challenged by post-processual archaeologists who say that human behavior is contextual, historically contingent and not governed by laws How Science Works • Most archaeologists follow (more or less) the hypothetico-deductive method (h-d). It involves four steps: 1. Observation - find patterns that underlie • • 2. Inductions - hypothesis formulation. Arguing from specific cases to generalities • 3. Deduction - Arguing from generalities to specific predicitons (if... Then) • 4. Testing - The ‘grunt part’. Making more observations of real world to see if deduced predictions are confirmed. Testing may support hypotheses or lead to its rejection or modification • Examples of h-d • Observation: Classic Maya had state level of organization and were heavily involved in long distance trade • Induction: Relied on trade of salt for state formation • Deduction: If your state hypothesis is true then... • 1. We should find large quantities of traded salt in other cases where states formed • 2. Trade of salt should be found in contexts of high value - prestige (accompanying high status burials) Testing: Long distance salt trade is not found in other cases of state formation but long • distance trade is Multiple Working Hypotheses • When observation leads to induction of more than one hypothesis • Observation: Nunamiut base camps have high frequency of MUI bones • Hypothesis: 1. Differential transport from kill site to base camp (take mainly high MUI bones to base and leave remainders behind) • Hypothesis: 2. Differential disposal
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