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Archaeology?

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1alibrarian
Jan 25, 2009, 6:00pm Top

Is there a consensus that archaeology is under social sciences or maybe history? My first reaction is that it should be a top level field, but then I noticed that I stick archaeology works with histories on my own bookshelves (except for works on archaeology as a discipline)

2hailelib
Jan 26, 2009, 9:45am Top

I tend to think of it as an intersection between anthropology, science and history. However, the physical books mostly end up as early history on my shelves.

3Rivendell
Jan 26, 2009, 1:04pm Top

I would put Archaeology under Science (unlike Anthropology which I would class as a Social Science). However this may be a European as opposed to a North American view.
A possible solution would be to rename "History" as "History and Archaeology" or maybe better still: "The Past".

4jlelliott
Jan 27, 2009, 9:18am Top

I agree with Rivendell, archaeology is science, anthropology is social science. History is totally different.

5drbubbles
Edited: Jan 27, 2009, 10:14am Top

This is a huge can of worms even among archæologists, so you really have to consider what you mean by "archæology:" methods? theory? cultural/historical reconstructions? reconstructions of the physical processes (geomorphological & environmental) underlying archæological site formation & preservation? site reports?

In North America, American archæology (historical & prehistoric) and Old World prehistory usually (but not always) falls into anthropology but Old World historical archaæology most often falls under Classics and/or Art History. In Europe, anthropology and archæology are considered distinct.

There are a lot of scientific (chemical, physical) methods employed by archæologists, in the field and in the lab. There is a lot of computational & statistical research & application. There is also a lot of social-scientific, even artsy (cultural-studies style for anthropologists, art-historical for old-school classicists and current numbskulls), theorizing & interpretation.

These are all archæological but otherwise very different:

Pottery Analysis: a Sourcebook, methods for ceramic analysis
A History of Archaeological Thought, history of the discipline
Historical Archaeology, historical archæological method & theory
The Domestication of Europe, interpretation of archæological info from one region through time
Women in Prehistory, thematic survey from different times & places
The BBB Motor Site, site report from the central U.S.
Skull Wars, politics of archæology in the U.S.

Edited to add: one thing you will hear from many, many archæologists is that it is "multidisciplinary." This is essential to the worthwhile practice of archæology but makes it a taxonomical nightmare.

6IaaS
Jan 28, 2009, 5:48pm Top

I have tried to get people to comment on this list form the education in University of Oslo, Norway;

Faculty of Humanities
Department of;
> Archeology, Conservation and History
> Culture Studies and Oriental Languages
> Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas
> Literature, Area Studies and European Languages
> Linguistics (and Scandinavian Studies)
> Media and Communication
> Musicology

Faculty of Social Sciences
> Department of;
> Sociology and Human Geography
> Political Science
> Psychology
> Social Anthropology
> Economics

Maybe this is very alien for Americans. As you can see they have different faculties for humaniora and social sciences. So I guess that is the natural way to divide Archeology and Social Antropolgy in Norway.

In fact I think it makes sence to have all Academic professions as a headsubject.
(141 ;http://www.librarything.com/topic/55684#1035523 Shows the whole list)

7andyl
Jan 29, 2009, 4:27am Top

I think it depends where you go. At Bristol University The Department of Archaeology and Anthropology is part of the Arts faculty.

Bristol University
Faculty of Arts
> School of Arts
> > Archaeology & Anthropology
> > Drama: Theatre, Film & Television
> > History of Art
> > Music
> > Philosophy
> School of Humanities
> > Classics & Ancient History
> > English
> > Historical Studies
> > Theology & Religious Studies

Some other unis put it in the Faculty Of Arts as well.

At Durham University the Archaeology Department is part of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health. At Southampton and Manchester it is part of the Faculty of Humanities. At Reading it is part of the School of Human and Environmental Science. At University College London it is part of the Social & Historical Sciences unit which is grouped with the Arts & Humanities; and Laws units.

A consensus seems a little lacking even within University administrative categorisation (in Britain).

8IaaS
Jan 29, 2009, 8:34am Top

See your point and that is maybe for a lot of other subjects too.
Therefore the conclusion must be ut is best to have the subject Archeology at the top and I think it makes sence to have all Academic professions as a headsubjects.

9BarkingMatt
Jan 29, 2009, 8:45am Top

>8 IaaS:: ALL academic subjects? That's hundreds...

10drbubbles
Jan 29, 2009, 8:56am Top

And then what do you do with the inter/cross/multi-disciplinary works?

11IaaS
Edited: Jan 29, 2009, 11:55am Top

No, I said (meant) professions as medicine, law, archiology, philosophy, history----- you know.

12BarkingMatt
Jan 29, 2009, 12:10pm Top

;-)

Yes: dramatology, musicology, museology, egyptology, assyrology, sinology, etc. Not forgetting there is an ~ology for every known language, live or extinct...

That's why we're trying to find common denominators for groups of these disciplines - and for the many subjects that aren't really reflected by academic professions, cookery for instance.

13IaaS
Edited: Jan 29, 2009, 2:59pm Top

I have to mention that again one Norwegian chef won the titel as the worlds best cook. So cooking is a profession, even if most people try to do it at home.
And a lot of things is very diffucult to put in a "box".

14BarkingMatt
Jan 29, 2009, 3:04pm Top

I certainly meant no offense towards cooks; some are even "artists" in a way. But I wouldn't call it an academic profession.

15IaaS
Jan 29, 2009, 3:32pm Top

Of course not, it is a trade. But I am proud of the winner Geir Skeie.(http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-fg-bocuse-award29-2009jan29...)

16oldfolkgc
May 27, 2009, 9:43pm Top

When I was at UCLA, archaeology was part of the Antropology Dept. in the College of Letters and Sciences. That was well in the last century. I believe, now, what with inter-disciplinary curricula this is not so rigid. In fact, I believe when my son was there, many courses had both an Athro # and a History #, or Anthro # and Classics #, etc., but they were the same class, with credit given in the department of one's choice. Perhaps someone knows for sure.

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