Module 10 Contents.docx - Module 10 Contents Archaeological explanations We're going back to the topic of explanation in archaeology-what viewpoints to

Module 10 Contents.docx - Module 10 Contents Archaeological...

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Module 10 Contents Archaeological explanations We're going back to the topic of explanation in archaeology--what viewpoints to archaeologists take? This is closely tied to the theoretical perspectives we studied in some of our earlier modules. The module material provides a broader overview plus our assignment will give you an opportunity to see how differences in viewpoints can have highly significant consequences today. Readings: Chapter 10 Module Contents: Archaeological Explanation: A Brief Discussion Types of Explanation: Finding a Viewpoint Assignment: Revisiting Archaeological Explanations Link Archaeological Explanation: A Brief Discussion How do you know what you know? What is important to know? These types of questions may make your head hurt or may delight the inner philosopher in you. These are also the sorts of questions that inform how archaeologists go about explaining and interpreting the past. We are returning to the big questions that have been raised over the past several decades by archaeologists— what can we know, based on the archaeological record? And what are the important questions to ask? The issues surrounding these two queries have informed the development of a wide array of positions held by archaeologists who seek to answer larger questions about the past. Above: Academics arguing the nature of science and truth. What is knowledge and how can we acquire it? What is the nature of knowledge? Philosophically, these types of questions are known as epistemology . Different ways of knowing are what inform different perspectives on how we explain and interpret the past.
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The studies of early archaeologists were focused on reconstructing culture history . Reconstructing basic sequences of settlement, changes in styles, and distribution of artifacts over time provides the fundamental framework for producing a description of the past. In and of itself, this crucial step in archaeological study takes a significant amount of investigation. However, many years ago, archaeologists realized this was not enough. At the very beginning of the semester, we learned about the emergence of the “New Archaeology”, later dubbed Processualism, and the many movements that followed. Simply describing the past was not enough. Marrying archaeology with the greater goals of
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  • Spring '14
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