Measuring Time With Artifacts: A History of Methods in by Michael J. O'Brien, R. Lee Lyman

By Michael J. O'Brien, R. Lee Lyman

Combining ancient examine with a lucid explication of archaeological method and reasoning, Measuring Time with Artifacts examines the origins and altering use of primary chronometric ideas and tactics and analyzes different methods American archaeologists have studied alterations in artifacts, websites, and peoples over time.

In highlighting the underpinning ontology and epistemology of artifact-based chronometers—cultural transmission and the way to degree it archaeologically—this quantity covers matters reminiscent of why archaeologists used the cultural evolutionism of L. H. Morgan, E. B. Tylor, L. A. White, and others rather than organic evolutionism; why artifact category performed a severe function within the adoption of stratigraphic excavation; how the direct old strategy comprehensive 3 analytical projects immediately; why cultural qualities have been very important analytical devices; why paleontological and archaeological equipment occasionally replicate each other; how artifact class affects chronometric approach; and the way graphs illustrate swap in artifacts over the years.

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Extra resources for Measuring Time With Artifacts: A History of Methods in American Archaeology

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Ontology 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 are units used as analytical tools to measure attributes of empirical units. A pencil is an empirical unit that can be placed in a set of things that are all six inches long, but only if the attribute distinguishing the set specifies that the things within it must be six inches long to be included. Our theory tells us what length is and how to measure it and how it differs from width, color, and so on.

First, it will be obvious after reading the following chapters that the classification of artifacts underpins artifact-based chronometers. Change rendered as shifting combinations of the attributes of artifacts or changing frequencies of types of artifacts, with some combinations and types occurring in several contiguous time periods, is explained as heritable continuity, though it was usually described as historical continuity in the pre-1960 archaeology literature. Second, despite its critical importance, artifact classification is in fact where culture historians got into trouble.

Kidder: Archaeologists, noting that modern biology has mounted above the plane of pure taxonomy [that is, classification], have attempted to 32 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 the concept of evolution follow that science into the more alluring fields of philosophic interpretation, forgetting that the conclusions of the biologist are based on the sound foundation of scientifically marshalled facts gathered during the past century by an army of painstaking observers.

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