Presentation on theme: "Integrating Experiment and Enthographic Analogy: A Case Study WP5 Professor Alan K. Outram University of Exeter 8 th October 2012."— Presentation transcript:
Integrating Experiment and Enthographic Analogy: A Case Study WP5 Professor Alan K. Outram University of Exeter 8 th October 2012
Use of Ethnographic Analogies Identifying artefact function Understanding possible roles of organic material culture in cases without preservation Understanding archaeologically invisible or ambiguous activity (both function and meaning)
Ethnoarchaeology Archaeologists carrying out the ethnographies rather than anthropologists, because they have different questions in mind and need details on different processes – particularly taphonomic questions and middle range theory. Binford particularly good example (e.g. Nunamuit Ethnoarchaeology 1978)
Degrees of Correspondence Analogues are not proof, and never can be Analogies have more or less strength, depending upon the appropriateness of the context How many factors correspond in the analogy Are the corresponding factors pertinent or trivial
Problems with Ethnographic Analogy 1.Limited to the known Not all things that happened in the past will have a known ethnographic analogue Analogy may expand our modern, Western horizons, but we are still limited by what is recorded in the know world 2.Our analogues are limited to certain environments 3.Problems of observation with interference
Conclusion Analogy is a useful tool to provide possible answers, that otherwise may not have occurred to one. They do not prove anything. There are good and bad analogies. Be careful of context. Support with other investigations, e.g. experiments.
Experiment and Experience If there is not a hypothesis being tested then it is not an experiment! Actualistic experience is also important: –Just to understand processes we are not familiar with, so that we can speak with authority –As pre-experiments or pilot work
Case Study – Bone Marrow and Grease Exploitation Ethnographic sources show that fat is of huge value to many subsistence economies and that the extraction of marrow and the fragmentation and rendering of bones is commonplace. There is often much bone fragmentation in archaeological sites, sometimes attributed to such practices, but without clear corroborating evidence.
Small Cancellous Fragments
My approach was informed by –Readings of the ethnographic and ethnoarchaeological record –Experience of bone fracture and grease extraction –An experimentally tested method of classifying bone fractures –The creation of general model of fracture patterns relating to grease exploitation, based upon experience, experiment, ethnography and ethnoarchaeology, which I could compare to the actual archaeological record.