Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Ethnoarchaeology: Building Frames of Reference for Research

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_962

Introduction and Definition

Ethnoarchaeology is a powerful strategy for structuring archaeological research questions that uses ethnographic information to make inferences about the material residues of past human activities. Ethnoarchaeology is not a theoretical approach per se, so it can investigate research questions generated from a wide variety of theoretical perspectives. Ethnoarchaeological scopes and scales of research are expanding rapidly in geography, chronology, method, and theoretical stance, from variables conditioning the manufacture of traditional technology to the evolution of symbolic expression and ritual behaviors.

Ethnoarchaeologists are uniquely positioned to construct frames of reference to aid archaeological inquiry. In this entry, “frame of reference” is defined as a research strategy that makesprojections from a better-knowndomain of knowledge toa less-well-known domain. Ethnoarchaeologists examine variation in characteristics of an independent, related body...

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Further Reading

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  6. Jones, S. (ed.) 2010. Ethnoarchaeology part II. The SAA Archaeological Record 10: 8-25.Google Scholar
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  8. Kus, S. 2010. Observing the past, participating in the present: archaeologically informed ethnography. The SAA Archaeological Record 10: 13-16.Google Scholar
  9. Millerstrom, S. 2009. Fishermen’s shrines in the northern Marquesas islands, French Polynesia. The SAA Archaeological Record 9: 22-25.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Park ServiceUniversity of MontanaMissoulaUSA