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Capta and Data: On the True Nature of Archaeological Information

  • Christopher Chippindale (a1)

Is the customary word "data" a good name for archaeological records and facts? "Data" means the things that are "given," but archaeological observations and facts are never given at all. Rather, they are captured by the researcher, who seeks to grasp from the material record the essentials of some complex and little-known phenomenon, often remote in time and usually ambiguous in material expression. We should prefer to use the better word "capta," the things that have been captured, and to realize that this word captures the essence of what we do.


¿Acaso la noción de "datos" es adecuada para describir los registros y hechos arqueológicos? "Dato" significa "lo dado," mas las observaciones y los hechos arqueológicos nunca puedan darse por "dados." Son, en cambio, capturados por el investigador que busca aprehender del registro material los aspectos esenciales de un fenómeno complejo y poco conocido, frecuentemente de un pasado remoto, generalmente ambiguo en su expresión material. Deberiamos preferir la palabra "capta," las cosas que han sido capturadas, y estar siempre conscientes de esto tanto en nuestras actitudes para con los materiales arqueológicos como en la compresión del pasado que de ellas desprendemos.

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American Antiquity
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  • EISSN: 2325-5064
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