Artifacts and Ideas Essays in Archaeology


Artifacts and Ideas Essays in Archaeology

Artifacts and Ideas: Essays in Archaeology by Bruce G. Trigger
English | 2002 | ISBN: 0765801655 | 253 Pages | PDF | 17.4 MB


Prehistoric archaeologists cannot observe their human subjects nor can they directly access their subjects' ideas.

Prehistoric archaeologists cannot observe their human subjects nor can they directly access their subjects' ideas. Both must be inferred from the remnants of the material objects they made and used. In recent decades this incontrovertible fact has encouraged partisan approaches to the history and method of archaeology. An empirical discipline emphasizing data, classification, and chronology has given way to a behaviorist approach that interprets finds as products of ecologically adaptive strategies, and to a postmodern alternative that relies on an idealist, cultural-relativist epistemology based on belief and cultural traditions.

In Artifacts and Ideas, Bruce G. Trigger challenges all partisan versions of recent developments in archaeology, while remaining committed to understanding the past from a social science perspective. Over 30 years, Trigger has addressed fundamental epistemological issues, and opposed the influence of narrow theoretical and ideological commitments on archaeological interpretation since the 1960s. Trigger encourages a relativistic understanding of archaeological interpretation. Yet as post-processual archaeology, influenced by postmodernism, became increasingly influential, Trigger countered nihilistic subjectivism by laying greater emphasis on how in the long run the constraints of evidence could be expected to produce a more comprehensive and objective understanding of the past.

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