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Ethnoarchaeology - 20 credits (HS2426)

All archaeological reasoning is analogical.  The ethnographic record of traditional non-western societies represents by far the most significant analogical resource for archaeologists, both in the absence and the presence of written documents.  Since the nineteenth-century beginnings of archaeology implicit or explicit analogies have been drawn extensively from ethnography.  For prehistoric periods in particular, this practice is seen as the most effective wat for archaeologists to 'put flesh on the bare bones' of the archaeological record they excavate, to evoke the sense of complex social realities of lived lives and sensuous experiences. Yet, the way analogies have been appropriated in the interpretations of the past over the last century or so of archaeological practice varied widely: from causal and ad hoc evocations of randomly chosen similarities, to sophisticated statistical modelling and middle-range analysis of artefact distributions, spatial patterns, issues relating to group territoriality, mortuary practices or techniques employed in artefact manufacturing, to mention only a few cases covered.  This module examines the development of ethnoarchaeology as a subdiscipline of archaeology, reviewing the successes and failures of particular ethnoarchaeological approaches to the pas.  We will focus on both philosophical and methodological underpinnings of making ethnographic analogies in archaeological interpretations, examining a wide range of case studies from around the globe.

Staff: Dusan Boric
Teaching: 10 two-hour lectures; 2 seminars
Assessment: One essay (40%); one oral presentation (20%); one 1-hour exam (40%)
Semester: Spring