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Lecture 7

ANT 104 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Ian Hodder, Processual Archaeology, Pokot People


Department
Anthropology, Cultural and Archaeology
Course Code
ANT 104
Professor
Shea
Lecture
7

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Post- Processual Archaeology
1. Ian Hodder's Critique
2. Interpretive Archaeology
3. Agenda Archaeology
Processual archaeology became popular during the 1960s, but by the 1980s there were some
criticism/shortcomings
Weren't learning about social organization, symbols, etc… Processual was good at
solving simple problems, but not big ones
Ian Hodder mad the most substantive critism
Although it dealt well with basic areas of human behavior such as settlement
patterns, subsistence, technology, it did NOT examine more complex areas such
as symbolism and behavior
Began his career researching Iron Age settlement patterns in Britain
Hodder found that few dimensions of material culture correlated with historical
records about tribal divisions among ancient Britons… PROBLEM: The things at
which Hodder was looking (jewelry, tools, weapons, etc) were thought to be
sensitive indicators of cultural variation
Actualistic research by Hodder and others suggested that the difficulties that
Processual archaeologists would face in dealing with SYMBOLS and POLITICS
were considerable
The meanings of symbols can be ambiguous, even to the people who use
them
Interpretations of political behavior can be highly subjective (observer
dependent)
Processual archaeologists prided themselves as being objective scientists, but
interpreting symbolic and political artifacts is a highly subjective process
Ex: Confederate flag:
In the South, many whites and most African-Americans feel very
strongly and differently about what this symbol means. It means
different things to different people WITHIN the same culture
In ETHNOARCAEOLOGICAL fieldwork near Lake Baringo, in Kenya, Hodder
observed how people actively use symbolic artifacts to structure their social and
political relationships
Groups: Samburu, Pokot, Maasai
Weapons, pottery, and jewelry are thought to be sensitive to prehistoric
cultural variation
Hodder observed that the use of weapons, pottery, and jewelry design
variation to mark ethnic identity varied widely from context to context =
Strong variation NEAR borders, and weak variation elsewhere
Selective pressure
Weapon use: Varied within each group based on age/experience
SO, wat DID accurately indicate ethnic identity in Baringo Basin
YES: Jewelry, especially earrings and necklaces
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