Major Fallacies Surrounding Stone Artifacts and Assemblages

Major Fallacies Surrounding Stone Artifacts and Assemblages While lithic objects can potentially inform us about past adaptations and behaviors, it is important to develop a comprehensive understanding of all of the various processes that influence what we recover from the archaeological record. We argue here that many assumptions used by archaeologists to derive behavioral inferences through the definition, conceptualization, and interpretation of both individual stone artifact forms and groups of artifacts identified as assemblages do not fit squarely with what we have learned from both ethnographic sources and analyses of archaeological materials. We discuss this in terms of two fallacies. The first is the fallacy of the “desired end product” in stone artifact manufacture, which also includes our ability to recognize such end products. The second fallacy has to do with the notions that lithic assemblages represent simple accumulations of contemporary behaviors and the degree to which the composition of the depositional units we study reliably match the kinds of activities that took place. Although it is beyond the scope of this paper to offer a comprehensive set of new methodologies and theoretical perspectives to solve these problems, our goal here is to stress the importance of rethinking some of our most basic assumptions regarding the nature of lithic objects and how they become part of the archaeological record. Such a revision is needed if we want to be able to develop research questions that can be addressed with the data we have available to us. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory Springer Journals

Loading next page...
 
/lp/springer_journal/major-fallacies-surrounding-stone-artifacts-and-assemblages-YRPb0xe2HQ
Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Social Sciences; Archaeology; Anthropology
ISSN
1072-5369
eISSN
1573-7764
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10816-016-9297-8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

While lithic objects can potentially inform us about past adaptations and behaviors, it is important to develop a comprehensive understanding of all of the various processes that influence what we recover from the archaeological record. We argue here that many assumptions used by archaeologists to derive behavioral inferences through the definition, conceptualization, and interpretation of both individual stone artifact forms and groups of artifacts identified as assemblages do not fit squarely with what we have learned from both ethnographic sources and analyses of archaeological materials. We discuss this in terms of two fallacies. The first is the fallacy of the “desired end product” in stone artifact manufacture, which also includes our ability to recognize such end products. The second fallacy has to do with the notions that lithic assemblages represent simple accumulations of contemporary behaviors and the degree to which the composition of the depositional units we study reliably match the kinds of activities that took place. Although it is beyond the scope of this paper to offer a comprehensive set of new methodologies and theoretical perspectives to solve these problems, our goal here is to stress the importance of rethinking some of our most basic assumptions regarding the nature of lithic objects and how they become part of the archaeological record. Such a revision is needed if we want to be able to develop research questions that can be addressed with the data we have available to us.

Journal

Journal of Archaeological Method and TheorySpringer Journals

Published: Aug 8, 2016

References

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create lists to
organize your research

Export lists, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off