A Tale Of Three Paradigms Of Archaeology

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Archaeology and Theory: A Tale of Three Paradigms: This ArchBlog outlines and discusses theory and relativism, in order to understand the three different paradigms in archaeology. Theory is a testable principle or set of principles. In archaeology, the Law of Superposition is a theory used to properly date layers of soil. Within High Culture, Mythos of the West entails two different systems of thought. Mythos I focuses on emotion, religion, and irrationality. Mythos II focuses on political and irrational thought, and is better known as Postmodern Philosophical Relativism. Postmodernist thought consists of philosophical relativism, which strips away the principles of logos, pathos, and ethos. Therefore, method (i.e. scientific method)…show more content…
The archaeological record is from an entropic process, which involves two steps. The first step is the prehistoric societies who leave behind material culture. The second step is the varied survival of the material cultural across time. Recovering only a small fraction of material culture, in any society, is a true fact of the archaeologist—entropy is the enemy. Moreover, reconstructing prehistoric human societies, from very little evidence, makes archaeology the “Hardest Science”. A paradigm is a general system of explanation, and in archaeological terms it is the archaeological record. Archaeological thought evolved into three paradigms over the past fifty years: DDC, Processual Archaeology, and Postprocessual Archaeology. The first paradigm is Discovery, Description, and Chronology (DDC). DDC entails the archaeologist’s duty to discover, describe, and date the human societies in the world. The Processual paradigm has archaeologists seeking the evolution of human societies. Finally, the Postprocessual paradigm makes archaeologists question and oppose scientific…show more content…
Archaeology means to reveal cultural identity of existing societies, which causes issues within the cultures and ethics that must be practiced. For an example, archaeologists take interest in Native Americans and their origins. This involves excavating burials for research and data, but Native Americans are against unburying their ancestors. Ethical principles must be set for both the archaeologist and Native Americans, thus the Native American Graves Protection Repatriation Act commences. Moreover, code of ethics are set for archaeologists and their work all around the world. Once artifacts are unearthed, there are questions of antiquity ownership, “Who owns the past?” For many years, archaeologists were the economic and political dominants of society and thought they were right to acquire artifacts. On the other hand, in today’s society ownership turns to museums holding on to artifacts for further research and public display. Museums must have their own guidelines and principles in order to legally acquire artifacts. This increases the pressure of museums to return wrongfully acquired artifacts to their land of

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