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Lecture 3

ANTHRO 2AC Lecture 3: Approaches to Theory Building and InferencePremium

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Christine Hastorf

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Anthro 2AC Lecture 3 Notes-Archaeology
Understanding what patterns observed archaeologically might mean is the objective.
Often draw upon multiple bodies of knowledge to make conclusion from the data, the artifacts,
and patterns about the past.
And, we are always within our own historical milieu.
Example: can see the seasonal movement through the hair
- People have had quite different views on how archaeological inquiry should be
accomplished and what results are acceptable over the past several hundreds of years.
- Each aspect of the data and interpretation can be and should be questioned so that we
can all better accept our interpretations.
We want to work on asking the right questions. And link the best methods to those questions.
To do this, look at the “verbs and nouns” of archaeological endeavor.
Verbs: To reconstruct, to explain, to record...
Nouns: Past lifeways, cultural history…
Questions/ideas/theory <----> Discoveries in the field <---> Research methods <---->
Approaches to theory building and inference:
We are either like hard scientists (like chemists) with a body of “cultural” laws that
universal and therefore able to be discovered, or not quite that pure of a scientific
endeavor, but still interested gaining knowable information.
Trying to interpret and understand the past and its uniqueness and variety, seeking
understanding not answers, and that no two situations studied were the same, -this
orientation is more historically inclined-archaeology as history.
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