+612 9045 4394
Constructing Frames of Reference : An Analytical Method for Archaeological Theory Building Using Ethnographic and Environmental Data Sets - Lewis R. Binford

Constructing Frames of Reference

An Analytical Method for Archaeological Theory Building Using Ethnographic and Environmental Data Sets

Hardcover Published: 16th June 2001
ISBN: 9780520223936
Number Of Pages: 583

Share This Book:


RRP $146.00
or 4 easy payments of $26.31 with Learn more
Ships in 7 to 10 business days

Earn 211 Qantas Points
on this Book

Many consider Lewis Binford to be the single most influential figure in archaeology in the last half-century. His contributions to the "New Archaeology" changed the course of the field, as he argued for the development of a scientifically rigorous framework to guide the excavation and interpretation of the archaeological record. This book, the culmination of Binford's intellectual legacy thus far, presents a detailed description of his methodology and its significance for understanding hunter-gatherer cultures on a global basis. This landmark publication will be an important step in understanding the great process of cultural evolution and will change the way archaeology proceeds as a scientific enterprise.
This work provides a major synthesis of an enormous body of cultural and environmental information and offers many original insights into the past. Binford helped pioneer what is now called "ethnoarchaeology"--the study of living societies to help explain cultural patterns in the archaeological record--and this book is grounded on a detailed analysis of ethnographic data from about 340 historically known hunter-gatherer populations. The methodological framework based on this data will reshape the paradigms through which we understand human culture for years to come.

Industry Reviews

"This is a landmark work. It provides a major synthesis of a huge body of cultural and environmental information and offers a number of original, provocative insights into hunter-gatherer lifeways. It also provides a methodological framework that should be highly influential for years to come." - Jeremy A. Sabloff, Williams Director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum "This is a very significant contribution to the field.... Many of the ideas presented in this book were foreshadowed in [Binford's] earlier work, but nowhere have they been developed as fully as they are here." - James F. O'Connell, author of A Prehistory of Australia, New Guinea, and Sahul"

List of Figuresp. xi
List of Tablesp. xvii
Acknowledgmentsp. xix
Prologuep. 1
Exploring Prior Knowledge and Belief
"Founder's Effect" and the Study of Hunter-Gatherersp. 9
The Explanatory Challenge of Complex Wholesp. 9
Several Perspectives on Hunter-Gatherer Variabilityp. 11
Conclusionp. 29
Human Actors and Their Role in the Evolutionary Playp. 32
Actors in Hyperspacep. 32
Exploring the Properties of the Actors: A Prerequisite for Understanding Nichep. 33
Assessing Risk and Uncertainty When Considering Volition and Planningp. 35
Blaming Human Uniqueness for the Lack of Productive Theoryp. 37
Human Uniqueness Is a Constant, Not a Causep. 37
Received Knowledge, Volition, and the Outcomes of Future Eventsp. 38
The Need for Organizational Approaches to Variabilityp. 40
Conclusionp. 42
The Play of Ideas in the Scientific Theaterp. 44
Prologuep. 44
Act I, Scene 1: Data Productionp. 45
Act I, Scene 2: Dimensionalizing Datap. 47
Act II, Scene 1: Building and Using Frames of Referencep. 48
Act II, Scene 2: Projectionp. 49
Act III, Scene 1: Developing a Dialogue between Researchers and Hunter-Gatherersp. 50
Act III, Scene 2: Learning about Variability through Pattern Recognition Techniquesp. 51
Methods for Using Prior Knowledge: Building Frames of Reference and Models
Setting the Stage for the Evolutionary Play: The Earth's Climates, Plants, and Animalsp. 55
Climate: A Baseline for the Study of Ecologyp. 56
Biomes and Habitats: Structures of Accessible Resourcesp. 73
Conclusionp. 113
Designing Frames of Reference and Exploring Projections: The Plot Thickensp. 114
Hunter-Gatherer Niche Diversityp. 115
Hunter-Gatherer Variabilityp. 116
Productive Results from Biased Datap. 130
Projecting Hunter-Gatherer Populations to the Entire Earthp. 142
Conclusionp. 156
Building a Baseline for Analyzing Niche Variability among Ethnographically Documented Peoples: A Minimalist Terrestrial Model of Hunting and Gatheringp. 160
Ecosystems, Sociocultural Systems, and Evolutionp. 160
Environmental Properties Germane to an Understanding of Variability among Hunter-Gatherersp. 164
Model Building: Further Considerations of Species-Specific Properties and Initial Conditions for Imagining Dynamicsp. 174
A Model of an Exclusively Terrestrial Hunter-Gatherer Who Responds Primarily to Variability in Directly Accessible Foodsp. 187
Using Models and Projections: System State Differences and Ideas about Emergent Complexityp. 188
Looking at the Spread of Agropastoralism with Projected Knowledgep. 197
Searching for Clues to Process: Other Uses for Frames of Referencep. 202
Conclusionp. 204
Recognizing Patterns and Generalizing about What the World Is Like: The Transition from Pattern Recognition to Theory Building
Twenty-One Generalizations in Search of a Theoryp. 209
Recognizing System State Variabilityp. 211
Exploring System State Variability among Ethnographically Documented Hunter-Gatherersp. 212
Relating Our Observations and Generalizations to Arguments in the Anthropological Literaturep. 223
Exploring Systems State Variability at a Smaller Scalep. 225
Building a Minimalist Model of Hunter-Gatherer Group Size as a Standard for Measurementp. 229
Conclusionp. 242
A Flat Earth or a "Thick Rotundity"?: Investigating What the World Is Like before Attempting to Explain Itp. 243
Variability in Group1 Size: The Model versus the Documented Casesp. 244
Identifying Other Conditioners of Group Size Variabilityp. 255
Where Are We? An Assessmentp. 307
Conclusionp. 314
The Play's the Thing in the Scientific Theaterp. 316
Spotlight on the Group Size Modelp. 317
Risk Pooling or Nested Hierarchies of Decision Makers?p. 351
Too Many Models and Constants!p. 351
More Interesting Problems Raised by the Frequency Distributions of "Basal Units"p. 352
The "Population Pressure" Controversy and the General Issue of Density-Dependent Changes in Organizationp. 354
Reflectionsp. 357
Putting Ideas, Second-Order Derivative Patterning, and Generalizations Together: Explorations in Theory Building
A Disembodied Observer Looks at Hunter-Gatherer Responses to Packingp. 363
Habitat Variability, Potential Niche Diversity, and the Spatial Structure of Resource Accessibilityp. 364
Two New Instruments for Measurement: Spatial Packing and Niche Effectivenessp. 372
Pattern Recognition Using Instruments for Measurementp. 375
Intensification and Technology: More Responses to Packingp. 387
Conclusionp. 399
The Evolution of System States: Complexity, Stability, Symmetry, and System Changep. 400
The Once and Future Processual Archaeologyp. 400
Recent Archaeological Research on Complexity: Issues of Stability and Instabilityp. 401
Applying New Knowledge about Stability and Instability to Questions of Specialization and Diversificationp. 406
One Route to Complexity: Emergence through Internal Differentiationp. 417
Conclusionp. 432
The Last Act Crowns the Playp. 434
How Hunter-Gatherers Become Non-Hunter-Gatherersp. 434
Conclusionp. 461
Epiloguep. 465
Glimpses of Processes beyond the Packing Thresholdp. 468
Have I Established a General Research Procedure?p. 471
Notesp. 473
Referencesp. 493
Author Indexp. 535
Index of Ethnographic Cases and Archaeological Sitesp. 539
Subject Indexp. 541
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780520223936
ISBN-10: 0520223934
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 583
Published: 16th June 2001
Publisher: University of California Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 29.21 x 22.86  x 4.45
Weight (kg): 1.84

Earn 211 Qantas Points
on this Book