By Andrew Jones
Modern archaeology is polarized among the technically powerfuble excavators, who've subtle methods of recording, examining, classifying and describing their websites, and the social theorists, prompted by way of sceptical sociologies in technological know-how and cultural reports. This publication defines the contours of every faction and argues that clash among their goals and methods makes no sense. Andrew Jones as a substitute emphasizes the method of interpretations, that is, in his view, the true drawback of archaeologists.
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Additional info for Archaeological Theory and Scientific Practice (Topics in Contemporary Archaeology)
When these techniques are employed to make more interpretative statements concerning the past, such statements are often made within a theoretical framework which also allows for a systematic description of the past (for examples see Renfrew, Dixon and Cann 1966). The point here is not necessarily that all archaeological scientists are theoretically reliant on systems theory and ecological theory, but rather that the legacy of the concerns which were bound up with these theoretical frameworks have had an important bearing on the areas of study which archaeological scientists ﬁnd of interest at present.
First, they systematise the physical objects from which the record is composed, by creating general laws applicable to the formation of the record. Second, because of adopting this viewpoint, they then ﬁnd it essential to build on this approach by systematising social systems and creating laws that model the patterning of human behaviour in the past (see Toulmin 1990 for a discussion of the history of these ideas of society). It is important that we should note the legacy of systems theory, and especially ecological theory, on the practice of archaeological science.
An initial proposal that archaeological assemblages be treated as culturally structured (Moore 1982; Richards and Thomas 1984) has had a relatively low impact on the analysis of archaeological materials. I feel that (contra Rowley-Conwy 2000) the notable exception to this is the analysis of certain kinds of deposit in animal and human osteological studies (Hesse 1995; Marciniak 1999). Here the concept of structured deposition is viewed as having important implications for our understanding of the signiﬁcance of differing modes of deposition (see papers in Anderson and Boyle 1996; Hill 1995; Kovacik 2000; Renouf 2000; Serjeantson 2000).