Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Interpretive Archaeology and Its Role

  • Ian Hodder (a1)

This paper seeks further to define the processes of the interpretation of meaning in archaeology and to explore the public role such interpretation might play. In contrast to postmodern and poststructuralist perspectives, a hermeneutic debate is described that takes account of a critical perspective. An interpretive postprocessual archaeology needs to incorporate three components: a guarded objectivity of the data, hermeneutic procedures for inferring internal meanings, and reflexivity. The call for an interpretive position is related closely to new, more active roles that the archaeological past is filling in a multicultural world.


Este artículo intenta definir los procesos de la interpretación de significación en arqueología y explorar el papel público que esta interpretación podría tener. En contraste con la perspectiva postmodernista y postestructuralista, el debate hermenéutico incluye una perspectiva crítica. Una arqueología interpretativa postprocessual necesita incorporar tres componentes: una estricta objectividad de los datos, procedimientos hermenéuticos para inferir significados internos, y reftexividad. El interés en una posición interpretativa está relacionado a papeles nuevos y más activos que el pasado arqueológico cumple en un mundo multicultural.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

L. Binford 1987 Data, Relativism and Archaeological Science. Man 22 : 391404.

T. Earle , and R. Preucel 1987 Processual Archaeology and the Radical Critique. Current Anthropology 28 : 501538.

I. Hodder 1989a This is Not an Article About Material Culture as Text. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 8 : 250269.

I. Hodder 1989c Writing Archaeology : Site Reports in Context. Antiquity 63 : 268274.

M. Leone , P. Potter Jr., and P. Shackel 1987 Toward a Critical Archaeology. Current Anthropology 28 : 283302.

F. Mascia-Lees , P. Sharpe , and C. B. Cohen 1989 The Postmodernist Turn in Anthropology. Signs 15 : 733.

T. Patterson 1986 The Last Sixty Years : Toward a Social History of Americanist Archaeology in the United States. American Anthropologist 88 : 726.

L. E. Patrik 1985 Is There an Archaeological Record? In Advances in Archaeological Theory and Method, vol. 8, edited by M. B. Schiffer , pp. 2762. Academic Press, New York.

C. Renfrew 1989 Comments on Archaeology into the 1990s. Norwegian Archaeological Review 22 : 33^11.

J. Thompson 1981 Critical Hermeneutics. Cambridge University Press.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 1 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 257 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th January 2017 - 21st July 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.