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Title: The projectile point in perspective : a review of classification systems, consistency, and context regarding the dart-arrow dichotomy in North American archaeology
Author: Davies, Danielle
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2014
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The sorting of artefacts into categories for study represents simultaneously one of the most important – and yet one of the most problematic – tasks in archaeology. In an ideal world, the archaeological record would comprise clearly-defined and easily-separable groups of material for consistent identification and interpretation; the reality, though, is somewhat different. Here, in a systematic review of associated classification systems, the long-standing dart-arrow dichotomy in North American archaeology provides valuable insight into the relationship between classificatory idealism and practical reality, and, in-so-doing, lends itself to a much-needed reassessment of technological change. As the results derived from different study areas using different classification analyses make clear, traditional assumptions of a consistent large dart, small arrow point divide are far too simplistic, overlook the importance of individual context, and obscure the deeper complexities of human technological adaptation. Although a necessary and inevitable part of the interpretive process, thus, artefact classification must be approached in a more reflexive manner if the results derived are to provide meaningful insight into past systems and behaviour; something that can only be achieved via regular systems of review.
Supervisor: Bradley, Bruce ; Hurcombe, Linda Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available