Thesis - Open Access
Bachelor of Arts
Archaeology is, like any good sub-field of anthropology, concerned with the descriptions of, and comparisons between, cultural systems. The evidence used by archaeologists is, however, often of a very different nature than that used by ethnographers or linguists. Language is, of course, not preserved in the archaeological record, and many of the everyday behaviors that ethnographers are able to take for granted are invisible at a distance of two thousand years. This paper will be concerned with the study of social organization and group dynamics. However, determining the "structure" of a prehistoric society is notoriously difficult. Benson has stated that "Social structure has no unambiguous referents in the archaeological record" because "1) it requires relationships and not just units of variables, 2) relationships between elements of social structure are not unambiguous in living societies, 3) structural units are analytic categories of social scientists and are not isomorphic with corporate groups at any scale ... and thus have unspecifiable or widely varying material correlates" (Benson 1985:183).
Piker, Joshua Aaron, "The Sinagua and Aggregation: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Cultural Development" (1989). Honors Papers. 589.