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A Critique of Archaeological Reason
Structural, Digital, and Philosophical Aspects of the Excavated Record

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  • Date Published: April 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107665484


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About the Authors
  • In A Critique of Archaeological Reason, Giorgio Buccellati presents a theory of excavation that aims at clarifying the nature of archaeology and its impact on contemporary thought. Integrating epistemological issues with methods of data collection and the role and impact of digital technology on archaeological work, the book explores digital data in order to comprehend its role in shaping meaning and understanding in archaeological excavation. The ability of archaeologists to record in the field, rather than offsite, has fundamentally changed the methods of observation, conceptualization, and interpretation of deposits. Focusing on the role of stratigraphy as the center of archaeological field work, Giorgio Buccellati examines the challenges of interpreting a 'broken tradition'; a civilization for which there are no living carriers today. He uses the site of Urkesh in Syria, where he has worked for decades, as a case study to demonstrate his theory.

    • Deals with the intellectual dimension of archaeological excavation, placing field archaeology on solid theoretical grounds
    • Establishes the new concept of archaeological reason, giving fresh understanding of philosophical hermeneutics
    • Presents a theory of excavation that highlights the role and impact of digital technology on archaeological work
    Read more


    • Winner, 2021 Balzan Prize for Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, International Balzan Prize Foundation

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107665484
    • length: 408 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 151 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.65kg
    • contains: 26 b/w illus. 4 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. Fundamentals:
    2. Archaeology and grammar
    3. Categorization
    4. The search for objectivity
    Part II. Analysis:
    5. Stratigraphic analysis
    6. Typological analysis
    7. Integrative analysis
    Part III. The Reassembled Construct:
    8. The invention of a site
    9. The physical record
    10. The referential record
    Part IV. The Privileged Venue:
    11. Digital thought
    12. Digital text
    13. The archaeological record
    Part V. The Wider Frame:
    14. The relevance of structure
    15. The critical approach
    16. Hermeneutics
    17. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Giorgio Buccellati, University of California, Los Angeles
    Giorgio Buccellati is Research Professor at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Professor Emeritus at the Departments of Near Eastern Languages and of History, UCLA, and Director of the Mesopotamian Lab, UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology and The International Institute for Mesopotamian Area Studies, California. His intensive field work has included being Co-Director of the excavations at Korucutepe in Turkey, Director of the excavations at Terqa in Syria, and Co-Director of the excavations at Urkesh in Syria.


    • Winner, 2021 Balzan Prize for Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, International Balzan Prize Foundation

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