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How to Use Replication Assignments for Teaching Integrity in Empirical Archaeology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 October 2019

Ben Marwick*
Department of Anthropology, Denny Hall, Spokane Ln, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA98195-3100
Li-Ying Wang
Department of Anthropology, Denny Hall, Spokane Ln, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA98195-3100
Ryan Robinson
Department of Anthropology, Denny Hall, Spokane Ln, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA98195-3100
Hope Loiselle
Department of Anthropology, Denny Hall, Spokane Ln, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA98195-3100
(, corresponding author)


The value of new archaeological knowledge is strongly determined by how credible it is, and a key measure of scientific credibility is how replicable new results are. However, few archaeologists learn the skills necessary to conduct replication as part of their training. This means there is a gap between the ideals of archaeological science and the skills we teach future researchers. Here we argue for replications as a core type of class assignment in archaeology courses to close this gap and establish a culture of replication and reproducibility. We review replication assignments in other fields and describe how to implement a replication assignment suitable for many types of archaeology programs. We describe our experience with replication in an upper-level undergraduate class on stone artifact analysis. Replication assignments can help archaeology programs give students the skills that enable transparent and reproducible research.

El valor de los nuevos conocimientos arqueológicos está fuertemente determinado por su credibilidad, y una medida clave de la credibilidad científica es cuán replicables son los nuevos resultados. Sin embargo, pocos arqueólogos aprenden las habilidades necesarias para llevar a cabo la replicación como parte de su entrenamiento. Esto significa que existe una brecha entre los ideales de la ciencia arqueológica y las habilidades que enseñamos a los futuros investigadores. Aquí defendemos las repeticiones como un tipo central de asignación de clase en los cursos de arqueología para cerrar esta brecha y establecer una cultura de replicación y reproducibilidad. Revisamos las asignaciones de replicación en otros campos y describimos cómo implementar una asignación de replicación adecuada para muchos tipos de programas de arqueología. Describimos nuestra experiencia con la replicación en una clase de pregrado de nivel superior en análisis de artefactos de piedra. Las asignaciones de replicación pueden ayudar a los programas de arqueología a proporcionar a los estudiantes habilidades que permiten una investigación transparente y reproducible.

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Copyright 2019 © Society for American Archaeology

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