Anthropology | Hist of Theory in Archaeology
P505 | 25446 | Peebles
This course, which combines topical lectures and discussions, covers
the role of theory in the conduct of archaeological research. It
takes, as framework, Bruce Trigger’s book A History of Archaeological
Thought (Cambridge University Press, 1990); additional articles and
monographs will be assigned as the course progresses.
When you think about the materials covered in this course, you might
begin (and end) with a premise advanced by R. G. Collingwood,
philosopher, historian, and archaeologist:
…the principle that a body of knowledge consists not of
'propositions', 'statements', 'judgments', or whatever names logicians
use in order to designate assertive acts of thought (or what in those
acts is asserted: for 'knowledge' means both the activity of knowing
and what is known), but these together with the questions they are
meant to answer; and that logic in which the answers are attended and
the questions neglected is a false logic (An Autobiography, pp. 30-31)
So: Just what questions animate the research of prehistorians and
archaeologists? And: Just how does 'theory' fit in the construction
of these questions.
Course requirements comprise 1) participation in the discussion
segment of the course, 2) three small papers on set topics, and 3) a
final paper on a critical evaluation of an aspect of the application
of “theory” to a piece of archaeological research.