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Essay on The New Archaeology Movement

Decent Essays
With the evolution of available technologies and methodologies, some archaeologists became frustrated with the traditional ways of archaeology; they felt that the new technologies should be used to improve archaeology and the outcomes of professionals in the field. The New Archaeology was a movement that sought to contribute to the existing anthropological knowledge of human behavior by emerging as a science and separating itself from the historical approach. New archaeology did not merely incorporate scientific technology, but it also employed various scientific methods and approaches.
Lewis Binford was the most influential figure in New Archaeology; he considered that cultures were composed of “three interrelated subsystems:
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Culture cannot be treated as a process because, in doing so, one would not take into account the many characteristics that distinguish cultures from each other and that would alter the outcome of each civilization.
Furthermore, Binford believed that archaeology should contribute to explaining the significance of past occurrences, instead of merely reconstructing them; consequently, he promoted the use of “explicit theory” (Renfrew and Bahn 41). Archaeologists were to formulate a theory for an event that had occurred in the past and would need to provide proof in the form of sites and artifacts to prove that the event actually occurred. New Archaeology supported the notion of using theories to explain the past. This would force archaeologists to provide proof for their conclusions, instead of merely claiming that something is correct based on his authority in the field.
Additionally, this approach would change archaeological procedure to a scientific one: “the appropriate procedure was now seen as formulating hypotheses, constructing models, and deducing their consequences” (Renfrew and Bahn 41). Implementing a scientific method for archaeological research would undermine some artifacts and other findings and regard them as unimportant. If archaeologists were concerned with proving a hypothesis correct, they may overlook an artifact that would not contribute to the hypothesis, but is still significant. New Archaeology promoted this idea; the idea
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