Archaeological Thinking: How to Make Sense of the Past

Archaeological Thinking: How to Make Sense of the Past

by Charles E. Orser Jr.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442226982
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 10/30/2014
Pages: 190
Sales rank: 895,821
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Charles E. Orser Jr. is research professor of anthropology at Vanderbilt University and Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Illinois State University. His publications include Historical Archaeology, 2e (2004) and The Archaeology of Race and Racialization in Historic America (2007). He is founder and editor of the International Journal of Historical Archaeology.

Table of Contents


1. What’s This All About, Anyway? Thinking in Archaeology
A Question of Belief?
Science versus History
Thinking to Some Purpose
The Process of Clear Thinking
A Brief History of Archaeo-Thinking
Postmodern Thinking
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2. It All Seems So Sciencey: Archaeology, Science, and History
How Do Archaeologists Use Science and History to Think?
The Exeter Mystery
The Ongoing Tussle between Evidence and Perspective
The Changing Nature of Coarse, Low-Fired Earthenware

3. Those Pesky Facts: Understanding Historical Facts
Can Facts Be Selected?
Is Fact Selection Dishonest?
Glass Beads and Glass Buttons
We Really Do Select Facts?
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4. If p . . . Then What? Archaeological Thinking and Logic
Our Love of Logic
Not Deduction, the Other One . . .
I’ve Been Abducted
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5. Is That Chair Really a Chair? Analogy and Archaeological Thinking
Archaeologists and Analogy
The Direct Historical Approach
Ethnographic Analogy
Evaluating Analogy Strength
What Is the Purpose of Analogy in Archaeology?
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6. Source-Thinking: The Relationship between Archaeological and Textual Evidence
What Is History?
Archaeology and History
“Historical” Sources
Reading the Declaration of Independence
The Search for Saint Brendan the Navigator
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7. Artifact-Thinking: Archaeological Thought and Excavated Things
Ceramics as Historical Documents
Ceramics as Commodities
Ceramics as Ideas
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8. Thinking to Some Purpose: Archaeological Research and Critical Thinking
The Danger of Faulty Archaeo-Thinking
Final Thoughts
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