By C. Gamble
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Extra resources for Archaeology. The Basics
The result of the copying process is either to decrease or to increase variation between groups, depending on the frequency of the item being copied. Of course, very faithful copying of the frequencies would lead to stability in cultural representations. This does not imply that natural selection is not working, only that selection pressures (Box 9) are constant. Neo-Darwinian archaeology: points for and against The neo-Darwinian approach to cultural evolution has great potential for archaeology.
Our campaigns also create the symbols that people use to contest fundamental issues of concern in the modern world (Chapter 8). The archaeological cafeteria: is that really archaeology? is much more complicated than you first thought. What was it that fired your archaeological imagination to find out what makes the subject tick beyond the everyday, the common-sense and the familiar? Was it Lara Croft, or Gladiator? Dusk in the Valley of the Kings, in Egypt, or dawn at Petra, in Jordan? A beep from your metal detector?
But it is not a unified field (OBrien 1996: 4). There is currently little agreement on which units, such as the individual or the human population, should be used to measure the effects of selection. Alison Wylie (1995: 208) has also raised doubts about the hopes of some of the practitioners which are pinned on the power of biological explanation. Does this necessarily make the inferences based on archaeological evidence with all its problems any more secure? Moreover, so keen are some neo-Darwinists (Dunnell 1978; OBrien 1996) to drive out what they consider to be unscientific concepts such as intent from the explanatory process that they seem to me to produce an automaton view of human sociality, more akin to the sociobiologist for whom social life is mandated by natural selection as played out by our genes.
Archaeology. The Basics by C. Gamble