In Archaeology, we seek to understand the evolution of human societies through archaeological evidence. While archaeology can be a fascinating subject, its practical implications go far beyond archaeology. For example, it engages social theory and uses the scientific expertise of people who are not archaeologists to make ontological claims about human societies.
Archaeology is the study of human society.
Archaeology is a broad field of study that draws from many disciplines. It is one of the only ways to understand the past when billions of people and thousands of cultures have lived and died over millennia. Writing as we know it did not appear until the 4th millennium BCE, and there were only a handful of technologically advanced civilizations in the past. Archaeologists study the physical remains of ancient societies and artifacts to understand the culture's history and the role of these materials in the evolution of human societies.
Archaeology can support increased understanding among human cultures and helps promote a more peaceful world. In recent years, archaeology has been closely linked to ethnography, a study of living traditions. For example, archaeology has interacted with modern culture, as seen in the Kennewick Man in the Pacific Northwest.
It has practical relevance beyond archaeology.
In a time when global injustice, social inequality, and environmental crisis are front and center of contemporary media and political discourse, archaeology offers a long-term perspective. The field's knowledge of ancient communities can help us understand contemporary social issues such as urban blight, environmental pollution, and social violence. By examining the past from a global perspective, decolonial archaeology offers new tools to fight for social justice.
This course also examines contemporary archaeological issues, from technology and social complexity to agency, ideology, and narrative. Students will learn about these issues through case studies from ancient societies and the modern world.
It engages with social theory to make ontological claims.
There are several ways that archaeology engages with social theory to formulate ontological claims. For example, Locke's theory of "nominal essence" is a crucial element of contemporary approaches to social ontology. In Locke's view, a nominal essence is a description of a species or thing that arises from an individual's observation or the association of ideas in his mind.
The scientific approach to archaeology originates from the Ancient Greeks, who were interested in finding nature's first principle of causation. This search for an explanation, separate from divine origins, combined with Parmenides of Elea's dictum that nothing comes from nothing, led to a belief that the world could be rendered intelligible through rational thought. This understanding led to a recognition that natural history could be studied rationally.
It uses the scientific expertise of persons who are not archaeologists.
In a recent survey, more than 25 percent of the respondents indicated that they had studied the past and looked for clues in fossils or other ancient objects. In addition, those with higher levels paper writer service of formal education said they had spent time analyzing past civilizations.
Archaeology is used to determine how human societies evolved and how they changed over time. Archaeologists use historical data from archaeological sites to study the evolution of societies, including those that have long since vanished. In addition, archaeologists use anthropologists' observations to interpret archaeological data and test theories.
Archaeologists study artifacts to uncover how people lived in ancient societies. Observations about an artifact's material and shape can tell an archaeologist much about its use. In addition, context can provide further evidence. For example, an artifact may have been used for hunting, butchering, or cooking. In addition to the material, archaeologists also analyze the process that made it. Often, these findings are used to reconstruct ancient technologies.