Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Archaeological Typology and Practical Reality
A Dialectical Approach to Artifact Classification and Sorting

$58.99 (C)

  • Date Published: November 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521048675

$ 58.99 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an examination copy?

This title is not currently available for examination. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Classifications are central to archaeology. Yet the theoretical literature on the subject, both in archaeology and the philosophy of science, bears very little relationship to what actually occurs in practice. This problem has long interested William Adams, a field archaeologist, and Ernest Adams, a philosopher of science, who describe their book as an ethnography of archaeological classification. It is a study of the various ways in which field archaeologists set about making and using classifications to meet a variety of practical needs. The authors first discuss how humans form concepts. They then describe and analyse in detail a specific example of an archaeological classification, and go on to consider what theoretical generalizations can be derived from the study of actual in-use classifications. Throughout the book, they stress the importance of having a clearly defined purpose and practical procedures when developing and applying classifications.

    Reviews & endorsements

    '… an excellent book … Because it contains an excellent overview of past archaeological classifactory approaches and critiques of typology as well as a clear discussion of what typology is, this book should be required reading for all graduate students.' Antiquity

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521048675
    • length: 452 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 27 mm
    • weight: 0.687kg
    • contains: 11 b/w illus. 10 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures
    List of tables
    The archaeologist's preface
    The philosopher's preface
    Part I. Introductory:
    1. Beginning points
    2. Introductory theses
    Part II. The Nature of Types and Typologies:
    3. Dimensions and elements of 'typehood'
    4. Perceptual and conceptual foundations
    5. The dialectics of type formulation
    6. The nature of types
    7. The structure of typologies
    8. A synthetic definition of typology and type
    Part III. Typology in Action: The Medieval Nubian Pottery Typology:
    9. Origin and development of the Nubian typology
    10. Basic features of the Nubian typology
    11. The uses of the Nubian Typology
    12. Philosophical implications
    Part IV. Pragmatics of Archaeological Typology:
    13. The starting point: purpose
    14. The determinants of types: variables and attributes
    15. The making of types: formulation, designation and description
    16. The uses of type: typing and sorting
    17. The ordering of types: taxonomy and seriation
    18. Variation and variability in archaeological classifications
    19. The bottom line: practicality
    20. Principles of practical typology
    21. Information-theoretic formulations
    Part V. Classification, Explanation and Theory:
    22. The Typological Debate
    23. Issues and non-issues in the Typological Debate
    24. Conceptual problems
    25. The use and abuse of theory
    26. Paradigms and progress

  • Authors

    William Y. Adams, University of Kentucky

    Ernest W. Adams, University of California, Berkeley

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.