Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


16 October 2013

Experimental archaeology: General directions, application to the study of the prehistoric tools (in Greek)

Ροζαλία Χρηστίδου Aνάσκαμμα 6 (2013): 13-37.


Experimental archeology tests cause and effect relationships in order to study change in the state and distribution of various material remains before and after burial. It is also a means of comparison of analytical methods and results. It differs from observational studies called actualistic in that it involves direct control over the variables analyzed and the conditions under which change is monitored. Experimental design determines the validity of the experiments. Recent reviews of experimental archeology mix it with experiential archeology, while others caution against broad definitions that dilute the method. Criticisms of experimental archeology focus on its relationships with middle-range research and uniformitarianism. Here, it is argued that the search of generalizations and law building should not be confused with investigations for analogies and diagnostic criteria to describe configurations in the field. Experimentation plays a central role in the technological analysis of stone and bone tools. It is part of the method introduced in the 1930s by Sergei Semenov and applied in western archeology since the late 1970s for making wear analyses on stone tools. Stone analysts have long discussed the shortcomings of archeological experimentation and propped up wear studies by combining an analytical approach with coherent experimental procedures and reasoning.

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