1st Edition

Time, Process and Structured Transformation in Archaeology

Edited By James McGlade, Sander E. van der Leeuw Copyright 1997
    504 Pages
    by Routledge

    508 Pages
    by Routledge

    In a discipline which essentially studies how modern man came to be, it is remarkable that there are hardly any conceptual tools to describe change. This is due to the history of the western intellectual and scientific tradition, which for a long time favoured mechanics over dynamics, and the study of stability over that of change. Change was primarily deemed due to external events (in archaeology mainly climatic or 'environmental').
    Revolutionary innovations in the natural and life sciences, often (erroneously) referred to as 'chaos theory', suggest that there are ways to overcome this problem. A wide range of processes can be described in terms of dynamic systems, and modern computing methods enable us to investigate many of their properties. This volume presents a cogent argument for the use of such approaches, and a discussion of a number of its aspects by a range of scientists from the humanities, social and natural sciences, and archaeology.

    Preface 1 Introduction: Archaeology and non-linear dynamics -new approaches to long-term change Part I Dynamical approaches to social processes 2 Models of creativity: towards a new science of history 3 The dynamics of peer polities 4 City-size dynamics in urban systems 5 Expectations and social outcomes Part II Models for archaeology 6 Archaeological interpretation and non-linear dynamic modelling: between metaphor and simulation 7 Simulating mammoth hunting and extinctions: implications for North America 8 Clusters of death, pockets of survival: dynamic modelling and GIS 9 Fractal environmental changes and the evolution of culture 10 Why does cultural evolution proceed at a faster rate than biological evolution? 11 Distributed artificial intelligence and emergent social complexity 12 The limits of social control: coherence and chaos in a prestige-goods economy 13 Structural change and bifurcation in urban evolution: a non-linear dynamical perspective Part III Issues in modelling 14 Are our modelling paradigms non-generic? 15 On wholeness, reflexive complexity, hierarchies, structures and system dynamics 16 Towards an 'appropriate metrology' of human action in archaeology 17 Dynamic modelling and new social theory of the mid- to long term


    James McGlade, Sander E. van der Leeuw

    'From modelling mammoth hunting and extinctions, the spread of European disease to and across the Americas and the transfer of information in genes, this is state-of-the-art archaeology.' - New Scientist