Lewis Binford And Processual Archaeology

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Through out the years we have seen numerous changes and evolution in the theories that make up archaeology. Archaeology was initially seen as a type of history or a historical study it focused mainly on the explication of the past, as well as gathering data to set chronologies. However many archaeologists feel that archaeology should focus on the explanation of the past rather than the explication of it. The first transformation that was documented produced “Processual Archaeology” it evolved from the old historical and antiquarian ways. Processual Archaeology was developed as a science, but was still deemed as inadequate to archaeologists in the 1990's. Post processual archaeology is the result of the criticism that processual archaeology has faced. It emphasizes the subjectivity of archaeological interpretations. Processual archaeologists however believed heavily on the scientific method therefore the data the derived was almost always objective. There is an obvious clash between these two schools of thought, one being subjective the other being objective, it's no wonder why there is a discrepancy between concepts such as culture. This research paper aims to examine in detail, Lewis Binford and the processual method of culture construction and compare it with Ian Hodder and the post processual method. By doing so I expect to find a discrepancy between their concepts of culture and how but more importantly why this discrepancy exists.

Processual archaeology attempts to treat archaeology as a science, we know this because the scientific method is used to make objective inferences about archaeological data. These "Processualists" believed that it was indeed possible to break past the limits of archaeological record, and actu...

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...had social hierarchies and prestige.
When comparing the ways in which post processual and processual archaeologists interpret artifacts we can see that post processual archaeologists make cultural inferences using their own interpretations. Processualists however try to explain cultural change through environmental adaptations thus making objective inferences. According to post processual archaeology environmental determinism is one of processual archaeology's weaknesses along with a lack of human agency. It is clear that these two schools of thought have a lot they disagree on, and have their own views of how culture is constructed. Processual archaeology has allowed Ian Hodder to develop what we know today as post processual archaeology. However, despite the differences among them one can agree that without one another archaeology would not be what it is today.

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