A Macroarchaeology Approach: How Can Archaeology Make Novel and Useful Contributions to Evolutionary Theory?

Author(s): Charles Perreault

Year: 2019

Summary

This is an abstract from the "The Extended Evolutionary Synthesis and Human Origins: Archaeological Perspectives" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The quality of the archaeological record limits the range of evolutionary research questions archaeologists can ask. The Extended Evolutionary Synthesis mostly describes micro-scale phenomena that unfold at the hierarchical level of the individual and over very short time scales. This means that most of these processes are underdetermined by the archaeological record, with its resolution and sampling intervals that are typically in the order of 10^2-10^3 years. Archaeologists can overcome these limitations and make novel and useful contributions to evolutionary theory and behavioral sciences in general by replacing the search for micro-scale phenomena with a search for macro-scale patterns in the global archaeological record. Macro-scale processes operate at a hierarchical level well above that of the individual. They cannot be seen within the span of a human lifetime but become visible when looked from an observation window thousands of years long and thousands of kilometers wide. The archaeological record has the scope necessary to detect macro-scale phenomena because it can provide samples that are large enough to cancel out the noise generated by micro-scale examples. Here I lay out what a macroarchaeology program looks like and provide examples of the approach.

Cite this Record

A Macroarchaeology Approach: How Can Archaeology Make Novel and Useful Contributions to Evolutionary Theory?. Charles Perreault. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450867)

Keywords

General
Method Other Theory

Geographic Keywords
Multi-regional/comparative

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24253