32402f17 - Introduction to Archaeology Class 17 Cognitive...

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Introduction to Archaeology: Class 17 Cognitive archaeology Copyright Bruce Owen 2002 Cognitive archaeology is a hot topic, but no one is exactly sure what it is Basically: What people thought in the past, when they thought it, how they came to think it, and how that affected other things Two broad foci: Origins and development of modern human thinking abilities When did people start thinking like we do, why, how, etc. Content and influence of thought, as opposed to environment, economics, etc. What religious ideas have people had, why, and how did that affect their lives and developments in their societies? How did people understand and explain their world, both the physical world and the social (economic, political, etc.) world? that is, what have people's ideologies been? In part, this is a reaction to the excesses of the New Archaeology and the processual approach, which tended to emphasize adaptation to the environment economic or material determinism a systemic view of society in which subsystems or subgroups acted in certain ways in response to certain conditions instead, the cognitive archaeology approach emphasizes individuals and what they think as being of interest and having a causal role in order to understand what people were doing in the past, cognitive archaeologists say you have to understand what they were thinking their cognitive abilities (in the case of very early humans who may or may not have been fully modern in their psychology) their ideology and cosmological framework for the world which shapes their understanding of and response to conditions they encounter Thomas divides cognitive archaeology into four areas, which blend together somewhat Cosmology he emphasizes astronomy here, incorrectly cosmology is the understanding of the cosmos, the whole universe. it includes ideas about the origin of the world, how the world and living things were
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32402f17 - Introduction to Archaeology Class 17 Cognitive...

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