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By Gamble

ISBN-10: 0387950931

ISBN-13: 9780387950938

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Both need ideas and theories. However much you might want to, it is not possible to break with past traditions of doing archaeology for the simple reason that we have to incorporate existing facts into our on-going syntheses. Just because we might not like the theories and excavation techniques employed by 42 HOW MANY ARCHAEOLOGIES ARE THERE? archaeologists a century ago doesn’t mean that we can ignore their data. Archaeologists do not start afresh. Rather they add to what is already known. Those facts, those objects, are patinated with the theories that give them significance to archaeologists.

Instead, it is best explained as a conflict between the ideologies of powerful archaeologies. A processual approach, with its systems, categories and universal values founded on the authority of the scientific method, literally could not see a gendered archaeology. Vision was not restored until a feminist critique took place of such assumptions as ‘all men hunt, all women gather’, or that everything being equal (which it never is) women make pots and men make ploughshares. These are very obvious essentialist assumptions about the correlation of biological sex with status and activity.

This did not go down well. It was seen as nothing more than opening the floodgates to a subjective view of the past. How could 35 ARCHAEOLOGY: THE BASICS Box 8: Five elements of an interpretive archaeology Symbolism: The key early work is Symbols in Action, in which Ian Hodder (1982) presents an ethnoarchaeological study of material culture in East Africa. He examines issues of ethnicity (as bound up in the culture concept (see Chapter 3), boundary maintenance and the power of individuals. In his book those elements dear to the processual agenda, such as diet and subsistence, are hardly touched upon.

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