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.
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