New Archaeology

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Posted by Indy Magnoli from on August 26, 1998 at 10:46:54:

In Reply to: Re: Archaeology posted by Mack on August 25, 1998 at 18:05:43:

: I've heard about this "movement" before, but I still don't quite understand the differance between "new" and "classical" archaeology other than classical probably suites me better. Perhaps you could elaborate.

"New Archaeology" was a movement in the 1960s which wanted to turn archaeologists away from "Culture History". Culture history is one way of looking at archaeological data. It looks at the data as history that can be placed into time slots in a chronological order. It is concerned more with the "what" and "when" than the "why" or "how". New Archaeology began using statistics and formulas to help organize the abundance of data coming from excavations. This movement has continued and predominates almost all of archaeology today.

The dichotomy is between New Archaeology and Culture History not Classical Archaeology. Classical Archaeology simply has to do with classical civilizations such as Ancient Greece and Rome. Some of the older concentrations of Archaeology, such as Egyptology, have been less affected by the New Archaeology movement because of the stubborness of its members.

To get more information on New Archaeology pick up any book by Lewis Binford. The stuff bores my to death, but you might learn something about what has happened to Archaeology.

Another option for those who want a more adventurous career in archaeology is Nautical Archaeology. It is still a new science and has an endless amount of work needing to be done. It's also closer to the old days of archaeology in that much of it is still centered around the search for artifacts and what they can tell us of history and people.

Thanks for giving me another chance to ramble on about Archaeology.


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