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Lecture 5

Lecture 5 Part 2 – Archaeology in the Americas

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Western University
Anthropology 2229F/G
Christopher Ellis

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 co
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