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Archaeology, science-based archaeology and the Mediterranean Bronze Age metals trade

Knapp, A.B. (2000) Archaeology, science-based archaeology and the Mediterranean Bronze Age metals trade. European Journal of Archaeology, 3 (1). pp. 31-56. ISSN 1461-9571

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Abstract

Archaeologists often seem either sceptical of science-based archaeology or baffled by its results. The underpinnings of science-based archaeology may conflict with social or behavioural factors unsuited to quantification and grouping procedures. Thus, the interaction between archaeologists and their science-based colleagues has been less profitable than it might have been. The main point I consider in this study, and exemplify by considering metals provenance studies in the Bronze Age Mediterranean, is the relevance and application of the stated aims of science-based archaeology to the contemporary discipline of archaeology. Whereas most practitioners today recognize that science-based archaeology has the potential to contribute positively to the resolution of problems stemming from our field's inadequate and incomplete data resource, I contend that science and scientific analyses alone cannot adjudicate between cultural possibilities. Rather they provide analytical data which are likely to be open-ended, subject to multiple social interpretations, and in need of evaluation by collaborating archaeologists using social theory.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:commodification of metals, Cyprus, lead isotope analysis, Mediterranean Bronze Age, metals trade, recycling, Sardinia, science-based archaeology, social theory
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s):Knapp, Prof A Bernard
Authors: Knapp, A.B.
Subjects:C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Research Group:Mediterranean Archaeology Research Group
Journal Name:European Journal of Archaeology
Publisher:Sage
ISSN:1461-9571
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2000 Sage
First Published:First published in European Journal of Archaeology 3(1):31-56
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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