BAJR Federation Archaeology

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GEtinthere!
deadlylampshade Wrote:And how does that sit with female Gladiator, a baby-murdering brothel and a Mediterranean tourist to Stonehenge? If that is democratically accessible narrative then it is not for me and it is not good for archaeology! There's sexing up and then there's tabloidesque surrealism!

Exactly.

Any chance of a damned good discussion on why people believe questioning theories and practises is somehow neo-con or attributed to the daily mail, or the mail on sunday, or any other publications of the same ilk...?
The point I was trying to make was not that I disagreed with 'a damned good discussion' merely that the examples 'Sensible Archaeology' quote on their FB page (the Bristol van excavation, the work of Peter Reynolds, lecturers with pony tails, phenomenology, the books of Francis Pryor) all seem to me to have their merits and should not just be dismissed as 'Insensible'.....my suspicion (and 3 days on I am still not convinced otherwise) is that that the scattergun approach is essentially reactionary and therefore firmly belongs within the neo-con ideology that seems for some unbeknown reason to be courting popularity in the UK....
As someone who has come to archaeology late in life and from a sideways route I have managed to bye pass archaeological theory almost completely.Big Grin

I have tried hard to get my head round it but the obscure and obtuse language use to explain concepts is a real put off. And to be honest in my day to day work I do not needed it.

As I understand it the theories present models that enable us to look at the past but as each model is framed in the present it can be little more than an intellectual exercise. (There is nothing wrong with exercising the intellect!!). However people seem to get carried away with this intellectual challenge and forget to assess if it has actually progressed us any further in understanding the past.

The little I do understand seems to suggest to me that Archaeology borrows models from other disciplines and applies them in ways they were not originally designed to do. Sometimes 20 years after the original model has gone out of use in the discipline it derived from.

Is there any theoretical approach that is purely archaeological in that it is derived from archaeological practice and observation?
two words - Richard Bradley. In what way is Francis Pryor not sensible? He's hardly an armchair archaeologist and his observations on agricultural practices are based on direct experience. You can't get less fluffy and not a Heidegger in sight.
Ah, see my points (for what they're worth) are not always coming across, sometimes because I'm trying to be concise in writing on the forum, and sometimes people seem to be misreading what is being said.

Case in point. The only criticism i have made of Francis Pryor is in an aside in another piece referring to him using misleading titles for his books. Seahenge being a classic example as it really doesn't contain very much about Seahenge, and is mostly an account of the fengate stuff which he has published elsewhere on numerous occasions. And that includes other misleadingly titled books such as Prehistoric Farming in Britain, which doesn't cover very much of Britain, and doesn't actually have that much about farming in prehistory in it. But I like Pryor's stuff in general, his career is based around a huge amount of field work and what I was trying (and obviously failing) to highlight was that his books are selling really well precisely because of the archaeology he writes.

As for me not seeing value in Peter Reynolds work? That just means you didn't read the piece. It states clearly in the beginning of that rant that he is one of my archaeological heroes (I have them, I don't care!) and that I was really annoyedry by Townends attack on his work because it's central premise was clearly incorrect and that the case study he used was inappropriate. He used a clever theoretical approach to write a critique that was entirely unsupported by any evidence. If that's post-Heideggan archaeology, count me out!

As said in an earlier post, I'll have to look at the language and writing style I have been using, as some people are not seeing the jokes, and others and not seeing the points. As it's me writing the stuff I have to take responsibility for that, but it does rather highlight the need for clarity in language. But more of that in a minute, for now I need pizza.
Wax Wrote:The little I do understand seems to suggest to me that Archaeology borrows models from other disciplines and applies them in ways they were not originally designed to do. Sometimes 20 years after the original model has gone out of use in the discipline it derived from.

Is there any theoretical approach that is purely archaeological in that it is derived from archaeological practice and observation?

Personally I think you have it about right there. Archaeology is a magpie. We borrow both tools and theories from anywhere we can if they seem useful and very little is designed specifically from and by archaeologists at the outset. You should see what surveyors think about how we abuse their kit! There are proven examples where the original points of imported theories have been missed by archaeologists.

I couldn't off the top of my head think of any theory in recent times that has it's ultimate origin in Archaeology, but I'm sure some of the people here would be able to list some. An old fashioned theory that was developed specifically for archaeology was Hawke's Ladder of Inference, which was later shown to be theoretically incorrect. I'm not sure how incorrect it was in reality though...

For example we have made great strides in understanding Bronze Age settlement in Ireland over the last 15 years, but very little progress in understanding Bronze Age religion. This would be in full accordance with the predictions made by the ladder, even if the theory doesn't stand up...I honestly couldn't tell you how that should be regarded.
Well.
Apparently Flannery's 'Golden Marshalltown' is being held up as some kind of strike against theory in archaeology. Might I suggest that if you feel that way, you reread it a bit more carefully?
Dude, if that's a double bluff I'll eat my hat!
(Goes off to re-read said article and to consider which item of head ware is least likely to cause indigestion)

Also I wrote up a response to the people saying I was trying to dumb down archaeology, or produce tabloid archaeology. It was a bit long to post here so if you're interested you can find it here

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=12...&topic=261
The key quote is towards the top of page 269. And it wouldn't go amiss to realise it was itself an academically-written and -published polemic written nearly thirty years ago on a different continent in a different academic climate and against a different theoretical and methodological background.
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