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This book explores the diverse understandings of the archaeological record in both historical and contemporary perspective, while also serving as a guide to reassessing current views. Gavin Lucas argues that archaeological theory has become both too fragmented and disconnected from the particular nature of archaeological evidence. The book examines three ways of understanding the archaeological record - as historical sources, through formation theory and as material culture - then reveals ways to connect these three domains through a reconsideration of archaeological entities and archaeological practice. Ultimately, Lucas calls for a rethinking of the nature of the archaeological record and the kind of history and narratives written from it.
"This book explores the diverse understandings of the archaeological record in both historical and contemporary perspective, while also serving as a guide to reassessing current views. Gavin Lucas argues that archaeological theory has become both too fragmented and disconnected from the particular nature of archaeological evidence. The book examines three ways of understanding the archaeological record - as historical sources, through formation theory, and as material culture - then reveals ways to connect these three domains through a reconsideration of archaeological entities and archaeological practice. Ultimately, Lucas calls for a rethinking of the nature of the archaeological record and the kind of history and narratives written from it"--
Paleobiology struggled for decades to influence our understanding of evolution and the history of life because it was stymied by a focus on microevolution and an incredibly patchy fossil record. But in the 1970s, the field took a radical turn, as paleobiologists began to investigate processes that could only be recognized in the fossil record across larger scales of time and space. That turn led to a new wave of macroevolutionary investigations, novel insights into the evolution of species, and a growing prominence for the field among the biological sciences. In The Quality of the Archaeological Record, Charles Perreault shows that archaeology not only faces a parallel problem, but may also find a model in the rise of paleobiology for a shift in the science and theory of the field. To get there, he proposes a more macroscale approach to making sense of the archaeological record, an approach that reveals patterns and processes not visible within the span of a human lifetime, but rather across an observation window thousands of years long and thousands of kilometers wide. Just as with the fossil record, the archaeological record has the scope necessary to detect macroscale cultural phenomena because it can provide samples that are large enough to cancel out the noise generated by micro-scale events. By recalibrating their research to the quality of the archaeological record and developing a true macroarchaeology program, Perreault argues, archaeologists can finally unleash the full contributive value of their discipline.
The archaeological record is a combination of what is seen by eye, as well as the microscopic record revealed with the help of instrumentation. The information embedded in the microscopic record can significantly add to our understanding of past human behaviour, provided this information has not been altered by the passage of time. Microarchaeology seeks to understand the microscopic record in terms of the type of information embedded in this record, the materials in which this information resides, and the conditions under which a reliable signal can be extracted. This book highlights the concepts needed to extract information from the microscopic record. Intended for all archaeologists and archaeological scientists, it will be of particular interest to students who have some background in the natural sciences as well as archaeology.
Synthesizes the most important principles of cultural and environmental formation processes for both students and practicing archaeologists.
Many consider Lewis Binford to be the single most influential figure in archaeology in the last half-century. His contributions to the "New Archaeology" changed the course of the field as he argued for the development of a scientifically rigorous framework to guide the excavation and interpretation of the archaeological record. In this book, first published nearly two decades ago, Binford provided students and general readers with an introduction to his challenging and provocative ideas about understanding the human past. Now available again, this important component of Binford's intellectual legacy will convey the drama and intellectual excitement of contemporary archaeology to a new generation of archaeologists and others interested in the field. Throughout the book, Binford questions old ideas and proposes new theories based on his comparative archaeological and ethnographic research in North America, Europe, South Africa, and Australia. A new afterword by Binford surveys the direction archaeology has taken since the publication of this book and shares his hopes for the future of the discipline.
This edited volume contains twelve papers that present evidence on non-normative burial practices from the Neolithic through to Post-Medieval periods and includes case studies from some ten countries. It has long been recognised by archaeologists that certain individuals in a variety of archaeological cultures from diverse periods and locations have been accorded differential treatment in burial relative to other members of their society. These individuals can include criminals, women who died during childbirth, unbaptised infants, people with disabilities, and supposed revenants, to name but a few. Such burials can be identifiable in the archaeological record from an examination of the location and external characteristics of the grave site. Furthermore, the position of the body in addition to its association with unusual grave goods can be a further feature of atypical burials. The motivation behind such non-normative burial practices is also diverse and can be related to a wide variety of social and religious beliefs. It is envisaged that the volume will make a significant contribution towards our understanding of the complexities involved when dealing with non-normative burials in the archaeological record.
This guidance document covers the use of geoarchaeology to assist in understanding the archaeological record. Geoarchaeological techniques may range in scale from landscape studies to microscopic analysis, and are carried out by practitioners with specialist knowledge about the physical environment in which archaeological stratigraphy is preserved, and excavations take place. The main aim is usually to understand site formation processes, but there may also be issues concerning site preservation, refining field interpretations of archaeological contexts and identifying changes in the physical landscape through time.
In this volume classical archaeologists and anthropologists discuss mutually beneficial perspectives in method and theory as these relate to issues of gender.
The Archaeology of Movement discusses movement in the past, including the relationships between mobility and place, moving bodies and material culture, and the challenges of studying past movement. Drawing on a wide range of examples and different archaeological practices, The Archaeology of Movement provides an introduction for those interested in thinking about past movement beyond the ‘fact of mobility’. Almost since the beginning of the modern discipline of archaeology, movement has played a role in helping to shape our understanding of the past. However, the issue of movement is complicated, and where it sits in relation to other indicators of the past is problematic. Until now it has received less serious scrutiny than it merits. This book seeks to address this lacuna by placing movement at the centre of our investigations into the archaeological record. The Archaeology of Movement is an excellent introduction for archaeologists, anthropologists, cultural geographers, and students interested in the ways movement has shaped our understanding of history and the archaeological record.
Since the early 1960s archaeologists have realised the importance of understanding the effects of natural site formation processes on archaeological sites and material. Of the many processes that exist, this study looks at sedimentation with regard to lake margins and its impact on the archaeological record.
The study of children and childhood in historical and prehistoric life is an overlooked area of study that Jane Baxter addresses in this brief book. Her timely contribution stresses the importance of studying children as active participants in past cultures, instead of regarding them mainly for their effect on adult life. Using the critical concepts of gender and socialization, she develops new theoretical and methodological approaches for the archaeological study of this large but invisible population. Baxter presents examples from the analysis of toys, miniatures, and other objects traditionally associated with children, from the gendered distribution of activity space, from the remains of children-as-apprentices, and from mortuary evidence. Baxter's work will aid archaeologists bring a more nuanced understanding of children's role in the historical and archaeological record.
Studies of mortuary archaeology tend to focus on difference—how the researcher can identify age, gender, status, and ethnicity from the contents of a burial. Jill L. Baker’s innovative approach begins from the opposite point: how can you recognize the commonalities of a culture from the “funeral kit” that occurs in all burials, irrespective of status differences? And what do those commonalities have to say about the world view and religious beliefs of that culture? Baker begins with the Middle and Late Bronze Age tombs in the southern Levant, then expands her scope in ever widening circles to create a general model of the funeral kit of use to archaeologists in a wide variety of cultures and settings. The volume will be of equal value to specialists in Near Eastern archaeology and those who study mortuary remains in ancient cultures worldwide.
This volume assesses current archaeological theories and considers how they relate to our understanding of the past.
Our Blue Planet provides a comprehensive introduction to the field of maritime and underwater archaeology. Situating the field within the broader study of history and archaeology, this book advocates that an understanding of how our ancestors interacted with rivers, lakes, and oceans is integral to comprehending the human past. Our Blue Planet covers the full breadth of maritime and underwater archaeology, including formerly terrestrial sites drowned by rising sea levels, coastal sites, and a wide variety of wreck sites ranging across the globe and spanning from antiquity to World War II. Beginning with a definition of the field and several chapters dedicated to the methods of finding, recording, and interpreting submerged sites, Our Blue Planet provides an entry point for all readers, whether or not they are familiar with maritime and underwater archaeology or archaeology in general. The book then shifts to a thematic approach with chapters exploring human interactions with the watery world, both along the coasts and by ship. These chapters discuss the relationships between culture, technology, and environment that allowed humans through time to spread across the globe. Because ships were the primary means for humans to interact with large bodies of water, they are the focus of several chapters on the development of shipbuilding technology, the lives of sailors, and the uses of ships in exploration, expansion, and warfare. The book ends with chapters on how and why the non-renewable submerged archaeological record should be managed, so that both current and future generations can learn from the achievements and failures of past societies, as well as on how anyone can become involved in maritime and underwater archaeology. Throughout, the reader benefits from the personal reflections of a number of leading figures in the field.
What is the role of neo-Darwinian evolution in explaining variation in prehistoric behavior? Evolutionary Archaeology, a collection of nine papers from a variety of contributors, is the first book-length treatment of the evolutionists' position. All archaeologists, and especially those with a specific interest in method and theory, will find much here to challenge traditional theory, solidify the evolutionists' position, and stir further debate. Evolutionary archaeologists argue that Darwinian natural selection acts on human behavior, resulting in the persistence of alternative human behaviors and the material products of those behaviors. The contributors address the methodological requirements of evolutionary theory as it may apply to the nature of archaeological data. Several contributors evaluate the methodological implications of basic evolutionary principles, including the structure of explanations, the units of evolution and analysis, and the measurement of information transmission. Others explore the role of specific analytic approaches such as seriation, raw material sourcing, and comparative and engineering analyses. Still others confront the issue of reformulating archaeological problems from the point of view of evolutionary theory. By focusing on the methodological requirements of evolutionary theory, these essays go far in meeting the challenge of building new archaeological method. The work contributes to a better understanding of cultural evolution and builds toward a new, logical framework to explain variation in the archaeological record.
This revised second edition of Ethics and the Profession of Anthropology renews the challenge to anthropologists to engage in a dialogue concerning their commitment to professional ethical conduct. With a majority of new chapters, this edition redefines what it means to conduct anthropological research ethically, as the discipline becomes less isolated from allied fields in the physical and behavioral sciences and comes to terms with the global changes that affect its practice.

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