Archaeology, most of us learned in school, consists in the painstaking digging up and sifting of relics from extinct cultures; hardly an exciting or indeed interesting activity - for most of us. Archaeologists and anthropologists, professional and otherwise, know better. In the buried structures and detritus of ancient cultures can be found a world of knowledge and insight - empirical and theoretical - into their cultures as well as our own. This fascinating volume brings these worlds to life, by integrating recent developments in anthropological and sociological theory with a series of detailed studies of prehistoric material culture. It is an exploration of the manner in which semiotic, hermeneutic, Marxist, and post-structuralist approaches radically alter our understanding of the past, and provides a series of innovative studies of key areas of interest to archaeologists and anthropologists.