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Ethnoarchaeology Beyond Correlates

TitleEthnoarchaeology Beyond Correlates
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
JournalEthnoarchaeology. Journal of Archaeological, Ethnographic, and Experimental Studies
Journal Date10/2009
Short TitleEthnoarchaeology
PublisherLeft Coast Press Inc.
Place PublishedWalnut Creek, CA
Publication LanguageEnglish
ISSN Number1944-2890
ISBN Number978-1-59874-837-6

In this article, I overview ethnoarchaeology's historic relations to positivism and argue for an explicit redefinition of how we understand the sub-discipline's core objectives. The New Archaeology and, to a lesser extent, Behavioral Archaeology charged ethnoarchaeology with producing "middle range theories" made up of "behavioral-material correlations" that would facilitate archaeological testing. I propose instead that we reaffirm ethnoarchaeology's ties to analogical reasoning by viewing it as a source-side "tack" within archaeology's emerging post-positivist epistemology. As a tack, ethnoarchaeology finds its primary role in the production and assessment of the background knowledge that archaeology uses to interpret the past. I suggest that the use of ethnographic engagements to assess archaeology's interpretive principles makes the subfield complementary with various forms of alternative and indigenous scholarship.