By Andrew Jones
Modern archaeology is polarized among the technically useful excavators, who've refined methods of recording, examining, classifying and describing their websites, and the social theorists, prompted by means of sceptical sociologies in technological know-how and cultural reports. This booklet defines the contours of every faction and argues that clash among their goals and approaches is senseless. Andrew Jones in its place emphasizes the method of interpretations, that is, in his view, the true crisis of archaeologists.
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Additional resources for Archaeological Theory and Scientific Practice (Topics in Contemporary Archaeology)
However, my interests are in the generation of information concerning food use in a particular period of human history. Like most scientists concerned with the generation of more factual information I have neither the time nor inclination to investigate these other avenues of information. Instead, I take them as read; I ‘black-box’ them. We can observe from this example that prior factual information is tied together to make a seamless whole. It is this process of tying information together which allows scientists to proceed with the creation of more facts.
Latour (1993, 91) has observed that it is precisely the demarcated nature of scientiﬁc knowledge and its privileged access to nature which causes so many of the problems surrounding notions of relativism and rationalism. This is due to the fact that if we consider science to have a privileged access to nature then the knowledge constructed through this privileged position also allows us to view culture as demarcated, since those who are able to ‘see’ nature in its true form are also culturally exemplary or special.
For instance, Martin (1990) has demonstrated that the language used to describe the science of immunology is shot through with metaphorical statements of a gendered nature. Fahnestock (1999) develops this argument through an analysis of the tropes – or modes of description and rhetoric – used in the construction of scientiﬁc facts. In a similar vein Strathern (1992) has investigated the constitution of the notion of ‘natural facts’ concerning biological reproduction and shown them to be cultural products bound up with our culturally speciﬁc notions of kinship and genealogy.
Archaeological Theory and Scientific Practice (Topics in Contemporary Archaeology) by Andrew Jones