Archeology shares with other anthropological sciences the goal of explaining differences and similarities among cultural systems. Sally R. Binford and Lewis R. Binford, therefore are concerned with theory and arguments which treat problems of the interrelationship of cultural variables with explanatory value. Archeology in Cultural Systems is devoted to four different aspects of archeology.
This book progresses from theoretical-methodological discussions to specific consideration of archeological materials. It focuses on the analysis of archeological remains from a single site. Its concern is primarily with recognizing, measuring and explaining variability in the form and distribution of a site's cultural remains. The authors argue that internal variability derives from the composition and distribution of societal segments represented at the site. The work then shifts to study of archeological components (or their attributes) and seeks explanations for observed differences and similarities. A final section of the volume comments and discusses materials in the volume.
Archeology in Cultural Systems is not a monolithic presentation of any particular school of archeological thought. There are common interests and many points of agreement among the authors, but there is also diversity of opinion on several points. These points are the focus of research here.