13th April 2012
Student Number: 0954119
9C: How valid is the use o analo!" in the pro#ess o ar#haeolo!i#al interpretation$ The outputs of any archaeological investigation should lead to the production of a final narrative, or synthesis, based on an interpretation. (Ascher, 1961: 317, arver !""9: !97# $%. &nterpretations can be produced fro' the results of previous synthesis, e(peri'entation or co'parison )ith current hu'an behaviour, each e(a'ple being reliant on the application of analogies borro)ed or independently developed. arver goes on to state that the synthesis is carried out for the benefit of the researcher, the future e(cavator and the public, )hose interest in archaeology has never been higher. A)areness of one*s heritage has been a gro)ing sub+ect for so'e ti'e, as can be seen by the popularity of genealogy, history and ancestry based television productions including the co''unity oriented archaeology of hannel ,*s Ti'e Tea'. -tephanie .oser su's up the public e(pectation of archaeology )ith the /uote *It is no longer acceptable for archaeologists to reap the material and intellectual benefits of another society’s heritage without that society being involved and able to benefit equally from the endeavour' (.oser et al., !""!: !!1%. 0acilities such as the The 1orvi2 3i2ing entre in 1or2 e(ist as per'anent e(hibitions for archaeology and the stories behind it, a feature so often 'issing fro' 'useu's. &an 4odder*s definition of interpretation as *translation* sits co'fortably )ith the )ell#used description of the past as a foreign country and these translations can e'po)er social and cultural groups to establish and build on lin2s to their past (4odder, 1991: 15%. 4o) then, is the *correct* interpretation established6 To produce the narrative it is necessary to include the hu'an story in the interpretation, despite it being i'possible to 2no) e(actly ho) or )hy an event in the past unfolded and it is through the use of analogies constructed in the present that this is achieved. 7ith so 'uch infor'ation ta2en at face value by the general public there is a social obligation on the archaeological co''unity to *get it right*. According to 8inda 9llis, )ith particular reference to 'useu's but undoubtedly relevant to other presentation 'ethods, 'e'bers of the public are rarely, or not at all able to asses the accuracy of infor'ation (9llis, !"",: ,6"%. &nterpretations are subconsciously constructed during e(cavation in an atte'pt by the observer to 'a2e sense of the evidence. &n doing so the observer is using his or her o)n e(periences or e(pectations to find an analogy (Andre)s, :arrett, ; 8e)is, !""": 5!6%. &ndeed, it is possible for the e(cavation itself to be influenced by preconceptions of 1 of 6
Another application of analogy is through 9(peri'ental Archaeology although it is argued that it does not reflect ancient practice directly. The application of ne) technology. There are t)o proble's )ith these e(a'ples. 0irstly. despite the publication of caveats to the data on earth re'oval rates there )ere cited e(a'ples of the data being directly applied to sites such as the Avebury ditch to esti'ate ti'e#scales for construction. The article goes on to discuss ho) the ne)ly recognised )ooden shovels could easily have handled the chal2 ditch construction )hereas scapulae.13th April 2012
Student Number: 0954119
9C: How valid is the use o analo!" in the pro#ess o ar#haeolo!i#al interpretation$ its interpretation such that bias 'ay e(ist in the record in the first instance (4odder. particularly if the evidence used during the analysis is a result of another*s synthesis. The =verton >o)n 9(peri'ental 9arth)or2 pro+ect (=>99?% of the 196"*s e(ercised a nu'ber of processes in parallel to long ter' ai' of recording the effects of )eathering. !"1!: !6%. as the distinctive grave goods suggested. @e)ell. !""9: 3"7%. . 1997: 69!%. &n one e(a'ple conte'porary theories on the use of tools )ere enhanced )hen the e(cavators realised antler pic2s could be effectively s)ung and scapulae perfor'ed very )ell as scrapers. for e(a'ple.9"%. there is the assu'ption that the e(istence of alternative and 'ore efficient tools 'eans they 'ust have been e'ployed despite the lac2 of evidence and secondly. rather it sho)s )hat )e can do )ith our technology even if all efforts are 'ade to accurately represent the tools and 'ethods ( arver. The artefact based interpretation of the ethnic origin of these people 'ay have been proven )rong but it 'ust be possible that the evidence )as indicative of a cultural intrusion. <ecent )or2 in 7inchester at the 8an2hills <o'an ce'etery site sho)s ho) a ne) techni/ue has changed the original interpretation of a196"*s e(cavation. 199$: . The original conclusion )as that this )as an *intrusive* population (:ooth. 2no)n to be used in flint 'ines 'ay have been li'ited to this use as a uni/ue necessity of the confined spaces.odern isotope analysis of a /uantity of s2eletons sho)ed their origins to be pri'arily :ritish and not. particularly )hen the )ider <o'anisation of :ritain )as achieved in 'uch the sa'e )ay. fro' central 9urope. can very /uic2ly disprove a long standing vie). 0urther e(peri'entation also allo)ed the e(cavators to publish data on the volu'es of earth that could be 'oved by a single person (Ashbee . The observations of a Ae) Buinea tribe in the 196"*s sho)s ho) 'isleading ! of 6
. Any interpretation of a site or artefact can not be considered as definitive.
:eyond the artefact and sites analogies can be applied to cultural groups. 1961: 319 . 8ess relevance is achieved )ithout this continuity but can be obtained through observation of cultures in a si'ilar environ'ent (Ascher. in other )ords )here the culture under investigation archaeologically is the sa'e as that observed ethnographically a high degree of i'portance. The first failing )ith this pre'ise is that 'odern *pri'itive* cultures have the'selves developed and advanced fro' the archaeological ti'e under investigation. the )or2ing ethic of this population )as not as intensive as applied during the e(peri'ent )ith 4eider observing that 'uch ti'e )as spent rela(ing or socialising (4eider. Analogical inference is also a 2ey ele'ent to 8e)is :inford*s . is achieved. 19$3: 19. 9thnographic co'parisons are predicated on the assu'ption that the culture under observation behaves in the sa'e )ay as the historic or prehistoric one and has therefore not been affected by the passage of ti'e. To i'prove the validity of such co'parisons a level of relevance is re/uired. applications and techni/ues. The absence of daily hu'an activity on the site and its affects on the archaeology )ill need to be recognised.$$% and although 'odern tooling and techni/ues )ere used in the construction phase the vast 'a+ority of the e(peri'ent )ill be observation of natural processes. as varied as body ar'our and tobacco pipes. 1967: 57%. Analogical &nference is the application of present#day (or historic% ethnographic observations to the interpretation of archaeological features. This is about as close as it is possible to get to a recreation of the original conditions and although the sectioning e(peri'ents )ill be conducted on an historically 2no)n site it is still far younger than the original. 1967: !%. )ere 2no)n to 'ultiple groups it did not necessarily follo) that they )ere adopted by all (4eider. !"". Carl 4eider observed the >ugu' >ani tribe of the >ani region )hich. :inford. 0or :inford there 'ust be a unifor' set of 3 of 6
. 0urther'ore. or relevance. =n the sub+ect of technology it )as noted that although the benefits of different 'aterials. 0rederi2 0ahlander argues that there have never been any societies operating unchanged and *out of ti'e* (0ahlander. !"".13th April 2012
Student Number: 0954119
9C: How valid is the use o analo!" in the pro#ess o ar#haeolo!i#al interpretation$ behavioural assu'ptions can be. e(cept for the lac2 of pottery. had the characteristics of a Aeolithic culture.: 193%. 1967: 61%. The =>99? )eathering e(peri'ent has a significant lifespan of perhaps 1!$ years (.: 191%.D 0ahlander.iddle <ange Theory )hich ai's ulti'ately to provide the *)hy* ele'ent to the 'ore general *)hat is it* interpretation (:inford.
is that it is not testable. 19$9: 3%. ac2no)ledges that there is 'uch diversity in cultures sharing both econo'ic and environ'entally si'ilar situations. 0ro' a general approach ho)ever.: !"1%. This )as a vie) stated by >onald Tho'pson as cited by Ascher (1961: 3!!%. 4eider*s )or2 in Ae) Buinea is one )here less relevance e(ists than )ould other)ise have been assu'ed and )as intended as a cautionary tale on the use of ethnographic co'parisons. of 6
. &n reality this only serves to validate the ability of the person )ho developed it. the typical settle'ent consisted of a group of t)o to five co'pounds. This is a funda'ental re/uire'ent of analogical logic E there 'ust be 'ore than one si'ilarity. across dialects. 19$9: 3%. The 'ain proble' )ith analogy at all levels )hen pertaining to lost societies. 4o) then can a satisfactory analogy be identified if the end product is still not available as a chec26 :inford re/uires that credibility of the analogy can only be gained by validating the 'ethodology (?ierce.6"%.13th April 2012
Student Number: 0954119
9C: How valid is the use o analo!" in the pro#ess o ar#haeolo!i#al interpretation$ universally applicable rules )hich 'anifest the'selves as signature patterns recognisable in the present and being the sa'e as those that created the archaeology in the past (?ierce. 7here there is a shortfall in the continuity of tradition hilde is cited as describing parallels as suspect and possibly deceptive (=r'e.: . Ascher argued that one )ay of i'proving the reputation of analogy )as to ensure sufficient and varied sources e(isted for analogical co'parison (1961: 3!3% ho)ever Alison 7ylie. 9llis argues that it )ill have changed and therefore any interpretation of it is affected (!"". onsidered archaeologically 4eider suggested that the interpretation )ould be of a village organisation )ith a population t)ice that observed (4eider. This led -'ith to conclude that no logical lin2 could . citing lar2 and -'ith. 197. 1967: 5$%. 0or e(a'ple. should be established before inferences are added. This also assu'es a degree of stasis )ith the archaeology unchanged and accurately representing a snap#shot of the culture at the point of loss or abandon'ent etc. ?aul <oscoe (!""": 115#6% further e(pands on the *cultural unit* definition in Ae) Buinea by e(plaining ho) language and dialect si'ilarities do not produce the 'aterial grouping nor'ally e(pected. particularly )here no historical record e(ists. the recognition that the re'ains )ere of a settle'ent )ill hold a high degree of relevance and it is only e(tension of the analogy that causes the infor'ation to beco'e suspect. <oscoe states that further cultural analogies. )as fre/uently dis'antled and 'oved and )ith social relationships nor'ally spread across 'ultiple settle'ents they )ere often e'pty for long periods of ti'e.
including :inford. and hence 'ultiple narratives. As the e(tent of an interpretation gro)s to include the *)hy* ele'ent the application of cultural analogies has been sho)n to be 'ore proble'atic. :ryony =r'e su's up the opinions of a nu'ber of archaeologists. 4o)ever. then archaeology has done as 'uch as is currently possible. As an interpretation e(pands there is less securityD a ring of post#holes considered ob+ectively is +ust that but sub+ectively it 'ay be a d)elling. if in all cases they are readily accessible and it is clear that any narrative presented is only one of a nu'ber of possibles.: !1"#11% and no 'atter ho) plausible an interpretation see's does not render it accurate (:inford. &t has been sho)n ho)ever that even a si'ple artefact based theory on the ethnic origins of a group of people can be disproven by the advent of ne) technology. =n this basis the overall use of analogy has its li'itations but retains validity.13th April 2012
Student Number: 0954119
9C: How valid is the use o analo!" in the pro#ess o ar#haeolo!i#al interpretation$ be dra)n bet)een the' (7ylie.
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. At the general level analogy can be applied relatively safely. 197. 9(peri'ental archaeology has been sho)n to have so'e value although the data gathered and e(periences recorded should only ever be regarded as representative of )hat *)e* can achieve )ith *their* tools and undoubtedly 'ore relevance is gained )ith 'ini'al conte'porary influence. To achieve any interpretation analogies are essential and it 'ust therefore be accepted that there )ill be 'ultiple analogs. The 'ethodologies e'ployed in their for'ation beco'e 'ore co'plicated )ith the identification of e(ceptions such as 4eider*s Ae) Buinea tribe. an enclosure or a ritual feature. 19$3: 75%. Analogy clearly has its uses. =b+ectively a post#hole is a post#hole. Any atte'pts to narro) the nu'ber of possible analogies by i'proving the 'ethodology in deriving the' is potentially a circular argu'ent if the product can never be proven. 19$5: 7!%. by reinforcing the correct use of analogy )hich is to provide a range of possible interpretations rather than singling out one (=r'e. 'ore relevant at the lo)er levels of artefacts and sites and perhaps less relevant at the cultural level )here the /uestion see's to beco'e 'ore unans)erable.
.iddle#<ange Theory in Archaeology.disciplinary studies in the ! st century. el Ae'r.. In #ursuit of the #ast$ %ecoding the Archaeological &ecord.. Ascher. ?ierce. 7(!%. 5!E6. Ae) Buinea 8eadership as 9thnographic Analogy : A ritical <evie). !"(1%. . 4odder.13th April 2012
Student Number: 0954119
9C: How valid is the use o analo!" in the pro#ess o ar#haeolo!i#al interpretation$ %iblio!raph" Andre)s.# . .. 'urrent Archaeology (!))*.useu' -tudies.7!%. <. @. &nterpretation not record : the practice of archaeology. -eattle. (1967%. &. 8.$5E5".ay%.. +an. 8ondon.ousa. (!"""%. :arrett. 1#1!.. Journal of Archaeological +ethod and 1heory. (1991%. :. . 8. . Ashbee. 8. -. (!""!%. The e(peri'ental earth)or2s revisited. Bothenburg: Botarc. Advances in Archaeological +ethod and 1heory. "!(1%. @.(pp. ?. (!"1!. &nterpretive archaeology and its role. A. @-T=<. 79#1!6. 0(!%. (1961%.5. 8e)is. =estigaard (9ds. 0ahlander. . 7ylie. A. 199#!1!. Al)ays 'o'entary . 7!(!77%. <. .. :inford. Antiquity. 9llis. B.. 7(.$.
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. 7 (0ebruary%. :ooth. 4udson. !"#!6. (!"""%. +aterial culture and other things$ post. . <oscoe. 9. (19$5%.oser. Analogy in Archaeological &nterpretation. . 317#3!5. Antiquity. 8an2hills: 9thnicity and >eath in 8ate <o'an 7inchester. (19$3%.%. <. 9gypt. (!""9%. <ichardson. Aiesh. A. . -... ?. :inford. "4(!%. -. (197. American Antiquity. et al. The <eaction Against Analogy. (199$%. &an. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology. arver. 691#7"". &n @. (1997%. :intliff (9d. 0. B. 8. -'udge ?its and 4ide -'o2ing: The Fse of Analogy in Archaeological <easoning. BlaGier. 0ahlander . 7E1$. ?. (!"".%. 5!5#53". 1$5E!1!%. Archaeological assu'ptions and ethnographical facts: a cautionary tale fro' Ae) Buinea. <. ?. -.%. -pringer. @e)ell.. 63#111. (!"". Southwestern Journal of Anthropology. ?hillips. . T. American Antiquity. =r'e..%. ?ortland ?ress. (1967%.)(1%. . Archaeology and AnthropologyE:rothers in Ar's6 &n 0. >. 4odder. Transfor'ing archaeology through practice: -trategies for collaborative archaeology and the o''unity Archaeology ?ro+ect at Huseir. . !!"#!. A riti/ue of . 2. A 'ompanion to Archaeology (pp. .%. fluid and fle(ible : to)ards a refle(ive e(cavation 'ethodology. @-T=<.. .%. Ae) 1or2: Tha'es . Abingdon: <outledge. 4eider. Archaeological Investigation. Antiquity. =(ford: :lac2)ell. @. 74. /orld Archaeology. C. (19$9%.. T)entieth# entury ?rehistorians and the &dea of 9thnographic ?arallels.