Evidential Reasoning in Archaeology

London: Bloomsbury Academic Publishing (2016)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Material traces of the past are notoriously inscrutable; they rarely speak with one voice, and what they say is never unmediated. They stand as evidence only given a rich scaffolding of interpretation which is, itself, always open to challenge and revision. And yet archaeological evidence has dramatically expanded what we know of the cultural past, sometimes demonstrating a striking capacity to disrupt settled assumptions. The questions we address in Evidential Reasoning are: How are these successes realized? What gives us confidence in the credibility and robustness, the trustworthiness, of the evidential claims based on archaeological data? And, what constitute best practices in building evidential claims, critically scrutinizing them and putting them to work in archaeological contexts? Rather than retreat to abstractions about how how science operates in the ideal, we approach this question by interrogating a number of close-to-the-ground case studies with the aim of teasing out the wisdom embodied in archaeological practice. The cases we consider – of fieldwork, strategies for working with old evidence, and the role of external resources – illuminate the role of various types of inferential scaffolding and bring into focus practice-grounded epistemic norms that we believe serve archaeologists better than the all-or-nothing ideals of truth and objectivity that dominate programmatic debate.
Reprint years
1350066869   9781350066861
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
First archival date: 2017-02-27
Latest version: 2 (2017-11-24)
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
929 ( #5,416 of 64,121 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
95 ( #6,472 of 64,121 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.