Symbols in Action

Author: Ian Hodder
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521241766
Release Date: 1982-01-14
Genre: Social Science

Material culture - the objects made by man - provides the primary data from which archaeologists have to infer the economies, technologies, social organization and ritual practices of extinct societies. The analysis and interpretation ofmaterial culture is therefore central to any concern with archaeological theory and methodology, and in order to understand better the relationship between material culture and human behaviour, archaeologists need to draw upon models derived from the study of ethnographic societies. First published in 1982, this book presents the results of a series of field investigations carried out in Kenya, Zambia and the Sudan into the 'archaeological' remains and material culture of contemporary small-scale societies, and demonstrates the way in which objects are used as symbols within social action and within particular world views and ideologies.

The Oxford Handbook of Material Culture Studies

Author: Dan Hicks
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780199218714
Release Date: 2010-09-02
Genre: Social Science

Written by an international team of experts, the Handbook makes accessible a full range of theoretical and applied approaches to the study of material culture, and the place of materiality in social theory, presenting current thinking about material culture from the fields of archaeology, anthropology, geography, and science and technology studies.

Symbolic and Structural Archaeology

Author: Ian Hodder
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521035507
Release Date: 2006
Genre: Social Science

This volume presents a searching critique of the more traditional archaeological methodologies and interpretation strategies and lays down a firm philosophical and theoretical basis for symbolist and structuralist studies in archaeology. A variety of procedures, ranging from ethnoarchaeological studies and computing techniques to formal studies of artefact design variability, are utilized to provide models for archaeologists within the proposed framework and the theory and models are then applied to a range of archaeological analyses. This particular approach sees all human actions as being meaningfully constituted within a social and cultural framework. Material culture is not simply an adaptive tool, but is structured according to sets of underlying principles which give meaning to, and derive meanings from, the social world. Thus structural regularities are shown to link seemingly disparate aspects of material culture, from funerary monuments to artefact design, from the use of space in settlements, to the form of economic practices.

Ethnoarchaeology in Action

Author: Nicholas David
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521667798
Release Date: 2001-07-26
Genre: Social Science

Ethnoarchaeology in Action is the first and only comprehensive study of ethnoarchaeology, the ethnographic study of living cultures from archaeological perspectives, and is designed for senior undergraduates and above in archaeology and anthropology. Its geographical coverage is global and the book includes relevant theory, practical advice regarding fieldwork, and complete topical coverage of the discipline. Critical discussions of varied case studies make this a very readable book. It is illustrated with numerous figures and photographs of many leading ethnoarchaeologists in action.

The Intangible Elements of Culture in Ethnoarchaeological Research

Author: Stefano Biagetti
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9783319231532
Release Date: 2016-06-02
Genre: Social Science

This volume focuses on the intangible elements of human cultures, whose relevance in the study of archaeology has often been claimed but rarely practiced. In this book, the authors successfully show how the adoption of ethnoarchaeological perspectives on non-material aspects of cultures can support the development of methodologies aimed at refining the archaeological interpretation of ancient items, technologies, rituals, settlements and even landscape. The volume includes a series of new approaches that can foster the dialogue between archaeology and anthropology in the domain of the intangible knowledge of rural and urban communities. The role of ethnoarchaeology in the study of the intangible heritage is so far largely underexplored, and there is a considerable lack of ethnoarchaeological studies explicitly focused on the less tangible evidence of present and past societies. Fresh case studies will revitalize the theoretical debate around ethnoarchaeology and its applicability in the archaeological and heritage research in the new millennium. Over the past decade, ‘intangible’ has become a key word in anthropological research and in heritage management. Archaeological theories and methods regarding the explorations of the meaning and the significance of artifacts, resources, and settlement patterns are increasingly focusing on non-material evidence. Due to its peculiar characteristics, ethnoarchaeology can effectively foster the development of the study of the intangible cultural heritage of living societies, and highlight its relevance to the study of those of the past.

Symbols of Excellence

Author: Grahame Clark
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521302641
Release Date: 1986-04-24
Genre: Social Science

Pithily written, rich in anecdote and superbly illustrated with examples of ancient craftsmanship, this book by an archaeologist of world renown ranges freely over the civilisations of the last five thousand years. The theme is a fascinating one. Why is it, Professor Clark asks, that human beings value precious metals, gems and a few organic materials like ivory and pearls so highly? All are difficult to obtain and largely useless for practical purposes. Yet the prestige associated with possession down the ages is undoubted. Position, sanctity and - by extension - the social and political hierarchies of entire societies have become embodied in these materials. Though first exploited to the full in the service of early cults and rulers, their appreciation has survived social change, and personal jewellery and insignia of rank are today more common than ever before. The reasons why are authoritatively explored in a remarkable book.

Village Ethnoarchaeology

Author: Carol Kramer
Publisher: Academic Press
ISBN: 9781483258331
Release Date: 2014-05-12
Genre: History

Village Ethnoarchaeology: Rural Iran in Archaeological Perspective discusses selected tangible features of the subject area, noting the differences in households and associated material culture. The book comments among settlement variability, the complexities in relationships among population density, settlement age, area, and function. The text also deals with material correlates of sociocultural behavior, spatial organization, architectural variability, regional patterns, and archaeological sampling strategies. The book presents a study based on three sets of contemporary data: (1) from an ethnographic fieldwork on Aliabad in summer 1975; (2) the census and cartographic documents published by the Iranian government; and (3) a corpus of published comparative ethnographic data. The book notes that among the households in Aliabad, which is neither economically stratified nor markedly heterogeneous, economic variations exist. The text suggests that that material diversity and systems involving socioeconomic differentiation can have substantial time depth in this part of the world. The book can prove beneficial for archaeologists, anthropologist, sociologists, and researchers interested in ethnographic accounts of Middle Eastern communities.

In Defense of Things

Author: Bjørnar Olsen
Publisher: Rowman Altamira
ISBN: 0759119325
Release Date: 2010-07-16
Genre: Philosophy

This important work of archaeological theory challenges us to reconsider our ideas about the nature of things, past and present, arguing that objects themselves possess a dynamic presence that we must take into account if we are to understand the world we and they inhabit.

Nukak

Author: Gustavo Politis
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781315423395
Release Date: 2016-09-16
Genre: Social Science

From Gustavo Politis, one of the most renowned South American archaeologists, comes the first in-depth study in English of the last “undiscovered” people of the Amazon. His work is groundbreaking and urgent, both because of encroaching guerrilla violence that makes Nukak existence perilously fragile, and because his work with the Nukak represented one of the last opportunities to conduct research with hunter-gatherers using contemporary methodological and the theoretical tools. Through a rich and comprehensive ethno-archaeological portrait of material culture “in the making,” this work makes methodological and conceptual advances in the interpretation of hunter-gather societies. Politis’s conclusions, based on six years of original research and on comparative analysis, are integrative and contribute to the identification of the multiple factors involved in the formation of hunter-gatherer archaeological assemblages.

The Archaeology of Contextual Meanings

Author: Ian Hodder
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521329248
Release Date: 1987-08-06
Genre: Social Science

This companion volume to Archaeology as Long-term History focuses on the symbolism of artefacts. It seeks at once to refine the theory and method relating to interpretation and show, with examples, how to conduct this sort of archaeological work. Some contributors work with the material culture of modern times or the historic period, areas in which the symbolism of mute artefacts has traditionally been thought most accessible. However, the book also contains a good number of applications in prehistory to demonstrate the feasibility of symbolic interpretation where good contextual data survive from the distant past. In relation to wider debates within the social sciences, the volume is characterised by a concern to place abstract symbolic codes within their historical context and within the contexts of social actions. In this respect, it develops further some of the ideas presented in Dr Hodder's Symbolic and Structural Archaeology, an earlier volume in this series.

Theory and Practice in Archaeology

Author: Ian Hodder
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781134797332
Release Date: 2004-08-02
Genre: Social Science

In this latest collection of his articles, of which seven are written especially for this volume, Ian Hodder captures and continues the lively controversy of the 1980s over symbolic and structural approaches to archaeology. The book acts as an overview of the developments in the discipline over the last decade; yet Hodder's brief is far wider. His aim is to break down the division between the intellectual and the "dirt" archaeologist to demonstrate that in this discipline more than any other, theory must be related to practice to save effectively our rapidly diminishing heritage.

Human Expeditions

Author: Stephen Chrisomalis
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
ISBN: 9781442664562
Release Date: 2013-12-06
Genre: Social Science

In its 2007 obituary of Bruce Trigger (1937–2006), the Times of London referred to the Canadian anthropologist and archaeologist as “Canada’s leading prehistorian” and “one of the most influential archaeologists of his time.” Trained at Yale University and a faculty member at McGill University for more than forty years, he was best known for his History of Archaeological Thought, which the Times called “monumental.” Trigger inspired scholars all over the world through his questioning of assumptions and his engagement with social and political causes. Human Expeditions pays tribute to Trigger’s immense legacy by bringing together cutting edge work from internationally recognized and emerging researchers inspired by his example. Covering the length and breadth of Trigger’s wide-ranging interests – from Egyptology to the history of archaeological theory to North American aboriginal cultures – this volume highlights the diversity of his academic work and the magnitude of his impact in many different areas of scholarship.

The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Death and Burial

Author: Sarah Tarlow
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191650390
Release Date: 2013-06-06
Genre: Social Science

The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Death and Burial reviews the current state of mortuary archaeology and its practice, highlighting its often contentious place in the modern socio-politics of archaeology. It contains forty-four chapters which focus on the history of the discipline and its current scientific techniques and methods. Written by leading, international scholars in the field, it derives its examples and case studies from a wide range of time periods, such as the middle palaeolithic to the twentieth century, and geographical areas which include Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Asia. Combining up-to-date knowledge of relevant archaeological research with critical assessments of the theme and an evaluation of future research trajectories, it draws attention to the social, symbolic, and theoretical aspects of interpreting mortuary archaeology. The volume is well-illustrated with maps, plans, photographs, and illustrations and is ideally suited for students and researchers.

Critically Reading the Theory and Methods of Archaeology

Author: Guy Gibbon
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9780759123427
Release Date: 2013-09-12
Genre: Social Science

Critically Reading the Theory and Methods of Archaeology stands out as the most thorough and practical guide to the essential critical reading and writing skills that all students, instructors, and practitioners should have. It provides priceless insight for the here and now of the Theory and Methods of Archaeology classes and for a lifetime of reading, learning, teaching, and writing. Chapters focus on rigorous reasoning skills, types of argument, the main research orientations in archaeology, the basic procedural framework that underlies all schools of archaeology, and issues in archaeology raised by skeptical postmodernists.