The A-Z of Archaeological Theory (Part 1)

David Roberts
dr522 [at]
  • A - Antiquarianism - Collecting old things because they're interesting. Almost totally condemned by modern theorists.
  • B - Baby - Usually thrown out with the bathwater by post-modernists.
  • C - Contextualists - Archaeologists who look at data from all angles, and then write what they were going to write in the first place.
  • D - Digging - An archaic mechanism of investigation disdained by the modern theorist.
  • E - Ego - Compulsory for attendance at TAG (Theoretical Archaeology Group) conferences.
  • F - Funding - A mythical ritual only rarely practiced on UK sites, more commonly found in America.
  • G - Gamble, C. (2004) Archaeology; the basics. London: Routledge. - The best introduction to archaeological theory around. Easy to read and little jargon.
  • H - History - Rarely mentioned in works of archaeological theory.
  • I - Ian Hodder - Former theorist, now buried at Çatalhöyük, Turkey.
  • J - Jargon - Words such hermeneutics, homeorhesis, isochrestic and uniformitarianism crop up in archaeological theory far more often than necessary.
  • K - Kossina, Gustav - The most repulsive theorist - racist, ultra-nationalistic and prominent in archaeology conducted by the Third Reich.
  • L - Landscape - Possibly theorists' favourite buzzword in the last twenty years.