Talk:Archaeological culture

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This page can be expanded to include more about material culture in the present. The archaeological section is fine, but the use and existence of material culture in everyday life is an important omission. Bruxism 22:51, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

material culture studies[edit]

Actually there is an interdisciplinary field of material culture studies today interrogating the the complex interrelation between humans, objects and spaces in modern societies, drawing from multiple sources from archeology and anthropology, but also from psychology, material science, semantics, philosophy, ethnology, design history, STS studies, social history, etc. Thus there should be a suplementary article or a rewritten article with a meta-perspective on old and 'new' material culture.

separate article[edit]

Material culture and cultural material should really be in a seperate article as they are not really relevant to the definition of an archaeological culture. DHBoggs 14:19, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Would Culture (archæology) suffice to cover all three terms? Jimp 23:40, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
No. These are very different uses of the word culture. One is exclusive to archaeology and is essentially synonomous with people, the others have to do with questions of behavior and meaning and are used in an number of other disciplines not uniquely tied to archaeology. As an analogy imagine subsuming the various meanings of the word state under one heading.DHBoggs 16:09, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
The use of the terms is in no way specific to archaeology. However, the invention of particular terms relating to complexes of material culture belongs to archaeology. Most cultural anthropologists use both, and it would be a rare doctoral dissertation on any particular existing culture where the student wasn't required to grasp the meaning of both terms (which are related). Material culture/artifacts are part of the larger notion of culture, but such a distinct subset that virtually everyone agrees that they can (and must be) studied separately. The inclusion of what is found in these studies in larger studies is problematic, and many contemporary archaeologists have shied away from the task of illuminating a particular material culture from the broader perspective of culture, but that doesn't mean that no archaeologists work on the problem. Fagan, at UCSB, comes to mind immediately as a senior member of the field who has devoted the last ten years of his life to integrating the two concepts in a variety of major publications.Levalley (talk) 18:14, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Material culture & Cultural material[edit]

For the reasons given above I've started a separate Material culture stub. The "Material culture" and "Cultural material" sections are therefore, in addition to being like the rest of this article almost entirely OR and unreferenced, irrelevant to the topic, so I'm moving them here:

==Material culture==
The term ''material culture'' refers both to the psychological role, the meaning, that all physical objects in the environment have to mean something to people in a particular culture and to the range of manufactured objects (techno-complex) that are typical within a socioculture and form an essential part of cultural identity.  Human beings perceive and understand the material things around them as they have learned to from their culture.  Manufactured items are especially meaningful and the relationship between object and meaning is usually what scholars of material culture study.  Material [[culture]] as learned behaviour can be compared to cultural [[linguistics]], (verbal culture).  Archaeologists try to understand the general articulation of past human societies by inferring what the less permanent aspects of cultures may have been like from the material record they have left behind.  Understanding aspects of the material culture of prehistoric peoples is the goal of some schools in archaeology as exemplified by [[cognitive archaeology]] or [[contextual archaeology]].  Other schools of archaeology, such as [[processualism]] generally avoid attempts to study material culture as a mentalist phenomenon altogether.

==Cultural material==
The term ''cultural material'' should not be confused with ''material culture''.  This term refers strictly to any object that exists because of human activity, usually, but not always, manufactured objects.  It is a phrase used most often by archaeologist to refer to finds from archaeological sites. However, an increasing number of archaeologists and anthropologists are becoming uncomfortable with the term and prefer to use the more neutral [[anthropogenic]] material, particularly in prehistoric contexts, because so little can be known about the "culture" and because human beings, not mindless objects are the bearers of culture.  An example of a traditional approach to cultural material is [[William Duncan Strong]]'s [[direct historical approach]].

Cultural or anthropogenic material consists of:

*[[Artifact (archaeology)|artefact]]s
*[[Feature (archaeology)|feature]]s
*[[ecofact]]s (also known as [[Biofact (archaeology)|biofact]]s)

The rest of this article still needs a considerable overhaul. —Joseph RoeTkCb, 07:11, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Content transfer/change of emphasis[edit]

The best content on this page is very similar to the content on the Culture-historical archaeology page. I believe it is more appropriate on that page in which the theoretical and historical origins of the term can be explained. I propose to merge such content into that article and shorten this one making it more of a dictionary entry with links to the anthropology content on Material culture and so on. Also it should be linked to Category:Archaeological cultures PatHadley (talk) 22:36, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

I don't think overlap is necessarily a bad thing. Tracing the history of the arch. culture concept specifically, which was used before culture history and has continued to be used under other schools, is still relevant to this article, though you're right to say it shouldn't be the main emphasis. Culture-historical archaeology does have the scope for more thorough explanation/context, yes, but I think it's enough to direct readers to that article and make it clear that the modern concept of archaeological cultures is closely linked to that theoretical development. Besides, otherwise the entire article wouldn't have any references!
(P.S. sorry to only say something after you've made the edit, this page is on my watchlist but I mustn't have been paying attention when you posted this). joe•roetc 21:50, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
This is not Wiktionary, so stuffing it and leaving only a definiton and some links is a no go for me. I agree with Joey above. Heiro 01:26, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Cool, the Gordon Childe quote is now slightly weirdly duplicated but I concede that the duplication doesn't hurt. The explanation could be tweaked to emphasise the concept of archaeological culture rather than the conceptual framework of culture-historical archaeology. I'm glad you like the teapots as an illustration of the fundamentals. I'll get round to fixing it properly eventually. PatHadley (talk) 12:21, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Yeah the Childe quote should be in one section or the other. There's still quite a bit of work to do here. joe•roetc 20:22, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Historic / contemporary archeological cultures?[edit]

Has anyone ever applied the "archeological culture" concept to historical or contemporary civilizations? If so, it could be useful to describe that here, to show to what extent archeological cultures correspond to social cultures, nations/states, etc. Wardog (talk) 11:08, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

an article listing named archaeological cultures would be nice[edit]

Whether or not each list item had a separate article to link to, it would be useful to have a list of named archaeological cultures, and a one or two sentence description for each. "Clovis", "Bell Beaker", "Corded Ware", "Mousterian", "Lapita" ... these are some that I have heard of. Is "Jomon" an archaeological culture, or defined in some other way? A list article could make it easier to learn the answers to such questions. (talk) 01:23, 19 March 2013 (UTC)