Archaeological Thinking: How to Make Sense of the Past
By: Charles E. Orser (author)Paperback
How do archaeologists think? How do they use the scattered and often-fragmentary remains from the past-both historical and excavated-to create meaningful, sensible interpretations of human history? In Archaeological Thinking, Charles E. Orser Jr., provides a commonsense guide to applying critical thinking skills to archaeological questions and evidence. Rather than critiquing and debunking specific cases of pseudo-archaeology or concentrating on archaeological theory, Orser considers the basics of scientific thinking, the use of logic and analogy, the meaning and context of facts, and the evaluation of source materials. He explains, concisely and accessibly, how archaeologists use these principles to create pictures of the past and teaches students to develop the skills needed to make equally reasoned interpretations.
Charles E. Orser Jr. is research professor of anthropology at Vanderbilt University and Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Illinois State University. His publications include Historical Archaeology, 2e (2004) and The Archaeology of Race and Racialization in Historic America (2007). He is founder and editor of the International Journal of Historical Archaeology.
Preface 1. What's This All About, Anyway? Thinking in Archaeology A Question of Belief? Science versus History Thinking to Some Purpose The Process of Clear Thinking A Brief History of Archaeo-Thinking Postmodern Thinking Continue Reading 2. It All Seems So Sciencey: Archaeology, Science, and History How Do Archaeologists Use Science and History to Think? SEARCHing Plausibility The Exeter Mystery The Ongoing Tussle between Evidence and Perspective The Changing Nature of Coarse, Low-Fired Earthenware 3. Those Pesky Facts: Understanding Historical Facts Can Facts Be Selected? Is Fact Selection Dishonest? Glass Beads and Glass Buttons We Really Do Select Facts? Continue Reading 4. If p ... Then What? Archaeological Thinking and Logic Our Love of Logic Deducing Not Deduction, the Other One ... I've Been Abducted Continue Reading 5. Is That Chair Really a Chair? Analogy and Archaeological Thinking Archaeologists and Analogy The Direct Historical Approach Ethnographic Analogy Evaluating Analogy Strength What Is the Purpose of Analogy in Archaeology? Continue Reading 6. Source-Thinking: The Relationship between Archaeological and Textual Evidence What Is History? Archaeology and History "Historical" Sources Reading the Declaration of Independence The Search for Saint Brendan the Navigator Continue Reading 7. Artifact-Thinking: Archaeological Thought and Excavated Things Ceramics as Historical Documents Ceramics as Commodities Ceramics as Ideas Continue Reading 8. Thinking to Some Purpose: Archaeological Research and Critical Thinking The Danger of Faulty Archaeo-Thinking Final Thoughts Continue Reading Index About the Author
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