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Lecture 5

Anthropology 2229F/G Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Lewis Binford, Scientific Method, Ethnoarchaeology


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTH 2229F/G
Professor
Christopher Ellis
Lecture
5

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Lecture 5 Part 2 Archaeology in the Americas
New Archaeology/Processual Archaeology
o Also called the explanatory period
o Focuses more an explanations
o Began about 1960
o Lewis Binford: leader of this approach
Inspired by Taylor
o A. Young Archaeologists
Includes Binford
Trained by ethnographers, social anthropologists, etc.
Return to the idea of evolution of culture
E.g. Leslie White, Julian Steward
Basically encouraged to study in different directions and go
beyond specific cases and make generalizations
o B. Discovering “Laws”/Generalizations about culture processes
Thought they could discover them by making generalizations
Overtly concerned with the use of the scientific method and
making
o C. Scientific Method
Rigorous, objective conclusions
Had to be subjected to a lot of scrutiny
Objectivity very important
Emphasis on ritualistic criteria
Have you followed the proper ritual to get to your
conclusion
Need objective observation
o D. What can archaeology contribute to anthropology?
Stressed: study of long-term change, development of
agriculture, etc.
o E. Materialist Explanations
Describing cultures similar to Leslie White
Learned traditions
Culture is an adaptive mechanism to cope with the
environment
What is the purpose of a certain cultural activity
o Way for people to survive
o Trade for creating social ties for aid in times of
need, etc.
Material conditions of life determines culture
o F. Stressed things we can find out from the past cultures
Limitless
Didn’t think that you could learn about the kinship and social
systems, religious practices, etc.
Defeatist attitude
We can find out about everything
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