Cognitive Archaeology: Mind, Ethnography, and the Past in South Africa and Beyond interprets the social and cultural lives of the past, in part by using ethnography to build informed models of past cultural and social systems and partly by using natural models to understand symbolism and belief.
How does an archaeologist interpret the past? Which theories are relevant, what kinds of data must be acquired, and how can interpretations be derived? One interpretive approach, developed in southern Africa in the 1980s, has been particularly successful even if still not widely known globally. With an expressed commitment to scientific method, it has resulted in deeper, well-tested understandings of belief, ritual, settlement patterns and social systems. This volume brings together a series of papers that demonstrate and illustrate this approach to archaeological interpretation, including contributions from North America, Western Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, in the process highlighting innovative methodological and substantive research that improves our understanding of the human past.
Aimed at theoretically-oriented archaeological researchers, it will be also relevant to method and theory courses and post-graduate students due to its theoretical and methodological emphasis. Further, it will have interest for heritage professionals working with Indigenous communities.
1. Introduction: benefits of an ethnographically informed cognitive archaeology
David S. Whitley, Johannes H.N. Loubser, and Gavin Whitelaw
2. Cognitive archaeology revisited: agency, structure and the interpreted past.
David S. Whitley
3. Ethnographic texts and rock art in southern Africa: a personal perspective.
4. Cultural traditions on the High Plains: Apishapa, Sopris, and High Plains Upper Republican.
Thomas N. Huffman and Frank Lee Earley
5. Paquimé’s appeal: the creation of an elite pilgrimage site in the North American Southwest.
Todd L. VanPool and Christine S. VanPool
6. Ntshekane and the Central Cattle Pattern: reconstructing settlement history.
Thomas N. Huffman and Gavin Whitelaw
7. Homesteads, pots and marriage in southeast southern Africa: cognitive models and the dynamic past.
8. A cognitive approach to the ordering of the world: some case studies from the Sotho- and Tswana-speaking people of South Africa.
Johan van Schalkwyk
9. Anthropomorphic pottery effigies as guardian spirits in the Lower Mississippi Valley.
David H. Dye
10. Upemba archaeology, Luba ethnography, and vice versa.
Pierre de Maret
11. Gates between worlds: ethnographically informed management and conservation of petroglyph boulders in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Johannes H.N. Loubser and Scott Ashcraft
12. On the archaeology of elves.
13. Cognitive continuities in place: an exploration of enduring, site-specific ritual practices in the Shashe-Limpopo Confluence Area.