Constructing Frames of Reference: An Analytical Method for Archaeological Theory Building Using Ethnographic and Environmental Data Sets

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Univ of California Press, May 7, 2019 - Social Science - 584 pages
Many consider Lewis Binford to be the single most influential figure in archaeology in the last half-century. His contributions to the "New Archaeology" changed the course of the field, as he argued for the development of a scientifically rigorous framework to guide the excavation and interpretation of the archaeological record. This book, the culmination of Binford's intellectual legacy thus far, presents a detailed description of his methodology and its significance for understanding hunter-gatherer cultures on a global basis. This landmark publication will be an important step in understanding the great process of cultural evolution and will change the way archaeology proceeds as a scientific enterprise.

This work provides a major synthesis of an enormous body of cultural and environmental information and offers many original insights into the past. Binford helped pioneer what is now called "ethnoarchaeology"—the study of living societies to help explain cultural patterns in the archaeological record—and this book is grounded on a detailed analysis of ethnographic data from about 340 historically known hunter-gatherer populations. The methodological framework based on this data will reshape the paradigms through which we understand human culture for years to come.
 

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Contents

Exploring Prior Knowledge and Belief
7
Human Actors and Their Role in the Evolutionary Play
32
The Play of Ideas in the Scientific Theater
44
The Earths Climates Plants and Animals
55
The Plot Thickens
114
Building a Baseline for Analyzing Niche Variability among
160
Putting Ideas SecondOrder Derivative Patterning
361
Complexity Stability Symmetry
400
The Last Act Crowns the Play
434
Epilogue
465
Established a General Research Procedure?
471
References
493
Author Index
535
Subject Index
541
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About the author (2019)

Lewis R. Binford is University Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University. He is author of Debating Archaeology (1989), In Pursuit of the Past (1983), and Working at Archaeology (1983), among many other books.

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