Sociology, Anthropology, By Lewis Binford

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Throughout the article, Archaeology as Anthropology, Lewis Binford argues that by looking at culture through a systemic view point our interpretations of the past can become stronger and will improve the field of archaeology and anthropology as a whole. His article is integral to the foundation of ‘New Archaeology’ because it gave a critical review of the short comings of a cultural historic approach, and provides suggestions of improvement that have been applied and even built upon in contemporary archaeology. These improvements are discussed by looking at three major functional sub-classes of material culture, with regard to the processes of change, and then applied in the context of the utilization of native copper in eastern North America. This approach created a new viewpoint with which to understand the past through cultural material and was one of the highlights that brought the field of archaeology to what it is today. Binford discusses the historical-cultural approach, by first acknowledging that it contributed to a vast amount of archaeological data that increased the limited knowledge that was available to archaeologists in the past (Binford, 1962). One of the concerns he had with this approach was the fact that archaeologists who were looking at this data, were providing explanations centering on specific events rather than the processes of cultural change and evolution (Binford, 1962). Matthew Johnson clarifies this limitation in his book, Archaeological

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