The University of Arizona

A Consideration Of Style In Archaeology

Randall H. McGuire

Abstract


Few concepts are more central to the endeavors of archaeologists, yet more ambiguous, than style. This is in part due to a general lack of theoretical and methodological consideration of the phenomena of style. However, despite the conceptual muddle style represents, most archaeologists have an intuitive feel for what style is. There is general agreement that style is some aspect of artifact variability and most researchers would accept decoration on pottery or the difference between corner notching and side notching of projectile points as being stylistic. This general intuition allows researchers to discuss stylistic variability with a fair degree of agreement on what formal properties of artifacts are in question. However, the lack of conceptual clarity results in ad hoc interpretation of the meaning of this variability for past cultural systems.

Keywords


Archaeology

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