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24 Cards in this Set

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What, according to Johnson, do artefacts tell us about the past?
- In short, nothing. Artefacts belong to the present. The past exists only in what we 'say' about it.
What are some ways we can garner a better understanding of the past using archaeological material at hand?
- Use natural science methods of testing hypotheses against material at hand.
- "Read" artefacts like texts...
Explain some of the hallmarks of "Traditional Arcaheology" (I.E.: Before New Archaeology)
- no explicit use of theory
- mere data collection
- normative culture
- polythetic culture
- tendency to particularize
- culture unchanging
- descriptive
What did Binford (1964) call traditional archaeology's view of culture?
- Aquatic view of culture
I.E.: any given innovation would ripple out in all directions like a stone dropped in a pond.
What two key points did New Archaeologists stress? *Hint* they had a phrase...
- "We must be more SCIENTIFIC and more ANTHROPOLOGICAL"
Did traditional archaeologists include human beings when analyzing the past?
- No, that was the problem - humans were ignored. It was described by Johnson as being 'fetishistic'
Is New Archaeology a set of beliefs?
- No - it is a movement of dissatisfaction, not a specific set of beliefs. Clarke said it is a set of questions rather than a set of answers...
Binford said culture was man's "extrasomatic means of adaptation" - explain extrasomatic
- Outside (extra) the body (soma)
List the seven key points of New Archaeology
1. Cultural evolution
2. Systems thinking extrasomatic
3. adaptive to external environ.
4. Stress on scientific approach
5. Stress cultural process
6. Make explicit one's biases
7. understand variability
Did New Archaeologists change their sampling techniques?
Yes - they did more random sampling for one thing.
As New Archaeology got older, what body of thought developed?
Processualism - stress on cultural process. Likes to generalize and uses systematic or functional models
What is the moral of the case study of megalithic tombs
- we should focus less on chronology and diffusion and more at the underlying processes involved. Not be content with dating and describing megaliths but focus on EXPLAINATION for them instead
Renfrew re: megaliths had five arguments. List these briefly.
1. Explained instead of describing megaliths
2. Used ethnographic analogies
3. stressed environmental factor
4. one functional element of total cultural system
5. TESTED his model
Does New Archaeology have a double slogan, and if so, what is it?
Yes- SCIENCE and ANTHROPOLOGY
Are the techniques used by new archaeology as applicable in, say, Britain as they are in North America?
No - sampling theory works well in the Arizona desert, but is not as useful in Wessex (or so goes the example in the text)
Explain "Cultural Evolution"
- Cultures evolve from one state to another
- Cultural trajectory
- N.Arch. wanted to look at INTERNAL dynamics as fostering social development
Explain "Systems thinking"
- different parts of a past cultural system were related to one another
- these systems were comparable to other systems found in physical/animal world
Talk about the 3rd idea of New Archaeology with respect to culture being adaptive ot external environment...
- important to look at whole ecological system - this lead to stress on CULTURAL MATERIALISM where material world is seen as more important than mental world
What sort of scientific techniques complemented the increaesed importance of culture in relation to the external environment?
- Paleoethnobotany
- Carbon-14 dating
- Dendrochronology
Discuss the three points of "Cultural Process"
- Desire to EXPLAIN rather than merely describe
- Look at underlying processes rather than "NOISE" on top
- Look at change in the long term
One of the central tenents of New Archaeology was making one's biases explicit. Related to this idea is the "Problem of Orientation" - discuss the latter
- Problem of orientation is that one should conduct research (ie: dig at a certain site) with research questions in mind...
The final and seventh point of New Archaeology has to do with the understanding of variability. Discuss...
It boils down to this - we have to look at not only the biggest and best sites, but also the surrounding area in order to have a complete picture of the whole system. We can't ignore the humble farmsteads.
How did New Archaeology understand the question of variability?
- for one thing, they used new sampling techniques and theories.
- Random or systematic sampling used
Did New Archaeology have a major impact on the study of Roman, Medieval and European prehistory?
- It had an impact on European prehistory, but less on Roman and medieval