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By Andrew Jones

Modern archaeology is polarized among the technically efficient excavators, who've subtle methods of recording, examining, classifying and describing their websites, and the social theorists, motivated by way of sceptical sociologies in technology and cultural stories. This publication defines the contours of every faction and argues that clash among their goals and approaches is not sensible. Andrew Jones as an alternative emphasizes the method of interpretations, that's, in his view, the true challenge of archaeologists.

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If, on the other hand, we consider the material remains of the archaeological record to be the result of meaningful actions, then we must also consider the cultural logic which brought these material remains into being. In order to do this we must consider the possibility that our interpretations reflect the cultural specificity of the remains. By interpreting the remains in so many differing ways, we abandon the idea of a universal and rational mode of cultural understanding. This then opens up the problem of cultural relativism (Kohl 1993), which is especially problematic in an archaeological context.

This view of the changing nature of the meaning attached to objects engenders a quite different approach to the interpretation of society. If we view the relationships between objects to be in a constant state of flux, this then allows us to see how the meanings attached to objects may change over time. By conceptualising the meanings of and relationships between objects as constantly open to change and re-contextualisation, it is possible to see how this view allowed contextual archaeologists to reconsider the relationship between material culture and society.

I am not interested in considering methodology as a validatory mechanism; rather it is a device, which allows certain aspects of the archaeological evidence to be reproduced with reasonable accuracy. Science operates most comfortably within the wider field of archaeology when we are able to employ well-defined and rigorous scientific techniques to the archaeological record. I am thinking here of some of the techniques routinely used in archaeology which have been imported from the physical sciences (Tite 1972), or from chemistry (Pollard and Heron 1996).

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