Session: #397

Theme & Session Format

Theories and methods in archaeological sciences
Session format:
Session, made up of a combination of papers, max. 15 minutes each

Title & Content

Modelling the past: Crisis of ideas in modern archaeology?
Currently a range of coexisting paradigms and growing importance of behavioural research has replaced the epoch of paragim wars in archaeological theory. This variability and eclectic choice, sometimes seen as "anything goes" can be understood as a bifurcation point identifying the deep crisis of ideas in archaeology.
However, a crisis also signifies the emergence of new solutions. Due to it's integrative power modelling has gained extraordinary sigificance in the forming of new syntheses. However, especially in the light of highly theoretic environmentally driven, Darwinian like models, devoid of cognitive human factors, fuzzy decision making, and the possibility of non-rational choice they provide a very biased approach. Considering all implemented assumptions required for social interaction models we have to question whether a model might be too complex to operate on the basis of our data.
Significant questions are:
Is there any empirical evidence that cannot be explained from the perspective of any paradigm?
How are narratives encoded in models, as discussed from a theoretical, methodological or practical viewpoint?
Are we creating Processualism 2.0?
How does the inclusion of social theory alter the results from a model?
Do we lack important approaches or getting lost in multiple meanings?
To what extent is the crisis of ideas caused by education in archaeology and the
organization of the academic system?
Does the specific role of archaeology in-between science and humanities affect the assumed crisis and the lead to biased modelling approaches?
theory, paradigms, crisis, modelling, narratives
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:


Main organiser:
Dr. Oliver Nakoinz (Germany) 1,2
Dr. Aleksandr Diachenko (Ukraine) 3
Prof. Dr. Slawomir Kadrow (Poland) 4
Chiara Girotto (Germany) 5
Ray Rivers (United Kingdom) 6
1. Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte, Christian-Albrechts-Universität, Johanna-Mestorf-Straße 2-6, D - 24118 Kiel
2. Johanna-Mestorf Academy, Leibnizstraße 3, D - 24118 Kiel
3. Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
4. Institute of Archaeology, University of Rzeszow
5. Goethe University Frankfurt
6. Imperial College London