Cognitive Approach To Archaeology

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Why? The million-dollar question that archaeologists examine every day. So much of our global heritage is shrouded in mystery, and our human curiosity is constantly yearning for more. Yet as archaeologists continue to reconstruct past thoughts, they are left with more questions than answered. The cognitive approach to archaeology comes to archaeologists as a result of the New Archaeology movement, aiming to look how and why certain cultures and subcultures did what they did. Looking at the archaeological record can tell a great deal about the material aspect of the culture being studied; however, we are able to paint complex pictures of how they lived, what their environment looked like, and why the made these artifacts. The cognitive approach…show more content…
Renfrew worked many years developing theories with other archaeologists and anthropologists looking at symbolic evolution within the archaeological record, creating a cognitive-processual theory looking at correlations in human behavior in the lens of an archaeologist (Trigger 2006: 433). It wouldn’t be unreasonable to look into the developments of cognitive process in the development of tools and goods found. You could answer a variety of questions like whether or not something was an environmental adaptation, what in the culture required the use of a certain artifact type. However, there is some variability to theory in which we can analyze, for archaeologists that were interested in looking at the cognitive aspects of archaeology, became more interest in the development mental process within practice, because interpretations of cognition without textual reference proves more difficulty than necessary at times (Trigger 2006: 433-435). This does change with different archaeologists, who adapted various methods to their approaches, which turns the tide for people like Schiffer in 1976, where he theorizes a relationship between the variables of materials objects and variables of behavior (Hodder 1982: 10). This interpretation does well to…show more content…
It has been cited that one cannot reliably reconstruct the past for those exact reasons, for the assemblage of an archaeological record we do have is nothing more than bones and stones that are not able to complete the story (Johnson 2010: 90-91). However, there are observable behaviors that we can use that allow us to create concepts of beliefs in the eyes of the present, rather than past (Johnson 2010: 91-101). It can be indicated within the record these behaviors because we are able to differentiate between patterns of burials, osteological remains, wrecks, stones and more. Even in more of a salvaged site there could possibly be different indicators of belief and practice. You can analyze how thing are arranged, and compare against other similar regional or local sites. We can attribute various aspects of cognitive archaeology with a nod to the frameworks Robert Hertz has provided in his anthropological work (Stevenson 2009: 180). Hertz had analyzed different cultures practicing funerary rites and their beliefs, observing behavior that explains what his subjects thought of community members who have passed (Hertz 1960: 33-37). But not only can ethnographic work help explain the cognitive perspective in which we analyze ancient behaviors against a mute collection, along a cultures timeline you can

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