1st Edition

Archaeological Theory The Basics

By Robert Chapman Copyright 2023
    194 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    194 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Archaeological Theory: The Basics is an accessible introduction to an indispensable part of what archaeologists do. The book guides the reader to an understanding of what theory is, how it works and the range of theories used in archaeology.

    The growth of theory and the adoption of theories drawn from both the natural and social sciences have broadened our ability to produce trustworthy knowledge about the past. This book helps readers to see the value of archaeological theory and beyond what is sometimes thought to be just the use of indigestible jargon. Key theories and concepts are introduced to the reader. Among the main questions discussed are the following:

    • What is theory and why do we need it?
    • What major areas of theory are, and have been, used and debated in archaeology?
    • What do they tell us about themes including human society, evolution, culture, identity and agency?
    • How might archaeological theory change in the future?

    This book is written mainly for readers new to archaeology and will help them to understand archaeological theory. It assumes no prior knowledge of archaeological theory and presents it in a selective and clear way, with case studies showing how theory is used in practice.

    1. What is Theory and Why Do We Need it?; 2 Social Relations and the Legacy of Marx; 3 Evolutionary Thought and the Legacy of Darwin; 4 Culture, Agency and Identity; 5 Being in a Material World; 6 Where Now?


    Robert Chapman is Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at the University of Reading. His research interests include the later prehistory of Iberia, the development of inequalities in human societies, and archaeological theory.