Interpreting Archaeology: Finding Meaning in the Past / Edition 1

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More About This Textbook

Overview

There has been a profound shift in the direction of archaeological activity in the last fifteen years, a change reflected in this volume. While excavation remains a professional priority, the interpretation of archaeological evidence is now attracting increasing critical study. In part this is stemmed from the public demand for explanation of archaeological evidence, which moves beyond the more restricted academic debate among archaeologists. But it also follows from a desire among archaeologists to come to terms with their own subjective approaches to the material they study, and a recognition of how past researchers have also imposed their own value systems on the evidence which they presented.
This volume provides a forum for debate between varied approaches to the past from leading archaeologists in Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia. It addresses the philosophical issues involved in interpretation, and the origins of meaning in the evolution and emergence of 'mind' in early hominids. It covers the ways in which material culture is understood and presented in museums, and how the nature of history is itself in flux.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415157445
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 5/28/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

List of tables and figures
Contributors
Introduction 1
1 Processual, postprocessual and interpretive archaeologies 3
2 Interpretive archaeologies: some themes and questions 30
3 Interpretation in contemporary archaeology: some philosophical issues 37
4 Past realities 45
5 Interpretive anthropology 48
6 The problems of origins: poststructuralism and beyond 51
7 The origins of meaning 57
8 Cognitive and behavioural complexity in non-human primates 68
9 Language and thought in evolutionary perspective 76
10 Talking to each other: why hominids bothered 81
11 Interpretation in the Palaeolithic 87
12 Interpretation, writing and presenting the past 95
13 Writing on the countryside 100
14 Can an African-American historical archaeology be an alternative voice? 110
15 'Trojan forebears', 'peerless relics': the rhetoric of heritage claims 125
16 A sense of place: a role for cognitive mapping in the 'postmodern' world? 131
17 The nature of history 141
18 The French historical revolution: the Annales school 158
19 The relations between human and natural history in the construction of archaeology 162
20 Material culture in time 164
21 Archaeology and the forms of history 169
22 Railroading epistemology: Palaeoindians and women 175
23 Interpreting material culture: the trouble with text 181
24 The visibility of the archaeological record and the interpretation of social reality 194
25 Tombs and territories: material culture and multiple interpretation 205
26 Reconciling symbolic significance with being-in-the-world 210
27 Questions not to ask of Malagasy carvings 212
28 Knowing about the past 216
Appendix: further comment on interpretive archaeologies 220
Glossary 232
Bibliography 249
Index 267
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