Advertisement

From Material Remains to Culture: The Possibilities and Limits of Archaeology in Reconstructing Ancient People

  • Viviana ArdesiaEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

The paper elaborates on the definition ‘a culture’ in archaeology. Following Childe’s definition, a culture is a set of remains – tools, vases, decorations, mourning rituals, dwelling styles – that are regularly associated (Childe, V. G. (1956). Piecing together the past: The interpretation of archaeological data. London: Routledge & K. Paul). But, if culture is intended as an organized structure that links together the material aspects with the social (e.g., hierarchy), religious (beliefs about preternatural) and economic (subsistence strategies) systems, then material culture becomes fragmented evidence of a culture that, once, was completely formed and effective in an ecological context. Artifacts are ‘solid behavior’, and archaeology studies the fossilized results of actions socially transmitted across individuals and across societies.

Keywords

Archaeological culture Artifacts Typological classification Ancient Bronze Age Rodì-Tindari-Vallelunga culture 

References

  1. Anati, E. (1992). Le radici della cultura. Milano: Jaca Book.Google Scholar
  2. Ardesia, V. (2008). La cultura di Rodì-Tindari-Vallelunga tra Pantelleria e la Sicilia nel quadro del Bronzo Antico siciliano. PhD thesis in Archaeology, University of Udine.Google Scholar
  3. Ardesia, V., & Cattani, M. (2006). Tipologia ceramica e caratteristiche culturali della facies RTV. Proceedings “Atti LXI Riunione Scientifica dell’Istituto Italiano di Preistoria e Protostoria”, Palermo, 16–19 November 2006.Google Scholar
  4. Binford, L. R. (1990). In pursuit of the past. Decoding the archaeological record. London: Thames and Hudson.Google Scholar
  5. Cavalli Sforza, L. L. (2004). L’evoluzione della cultura. Torino: Codice Edizioni.Google Scholar
  6. Childe, V. G. (1929). The Danube in prehistory. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  7. Childe, V. G. (1956). Piecing together the past: The interpretation of archaeological data. London: Routledge & K. Paul.Google Scholar
  8. Clarke, D. L. (1968). Analytical archaeology. London: Methuen and Co.Google Scholar
  9. Leroi-Gourhan, A. (1943). L’homme et la matière. Paris: Albin Michel.Google Scholar
  10. Leroi-Gourhan, A. (1965). Le geste et la parole (Vol. I et II). Paris: Albin Michel. Eng. transl. Gesture and speech. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993.Google Scholar
  11. Leroi-Gourhan, A. (1988). Dictionnaire de la préhistoire (Vol. I et II). Paris: PUF.Google Scholar
  12. Renfrew, C., & Bahn, P. (1991). Archaeology. Theories, methods and practice. London: Thames and Hudson.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CISEPS – Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology and Social SciencesUniversity of Milano - BicoccaMilanItaly

Personalised recommendations