Travaux et Recherches Archéologiques
sur les Cultures, les Espaces et les Sociétés
UMR 5608 T.R.A.C.E.S

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Colloque international "The Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG)" Southampton - December 2016

Vidéo - Communication de Philippe Boissinot "Archaeology is the science of aggregates"

The Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) was founded as a national body in 1979 with the aim of promoting debate and discussion of issues in theoretical archaeology. Its principal activity is the promotion of an annual conference, traditionally held in December and organised so as to be accessible at low cost to research students and others.

film-PhBoissinot-TAG-2016.jpg

film-PhBoissinot-TAG-2016.jpg


Colloque international "The Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG)"
Southampton - December 2016

Vidéo - Communication de Philippe Boissinot
"Archaeology is the science of aggregates"

The archaeological inquiry proceede to dismantle a singular entity, entirely spatial, and therefore viewable in many ways, with some cohesion, and structured from various material elements, which we call aggregate. As an aggregate, it could not be covered by any subject, even if it has at least a part, itself part of an artifact (and not only as constituent), suggesting intentionality in this location, that can be old or very recent. In contrast to other documents (picture, text), the aggregate reveals no point of view, nor imposed framework. From the disposition of these things (Ontology of substance) in it, the archaeologist deduces the existence of other things ("what?"), people ("who?") and events ("why ?"), answering incompletely this question: "what happened here?" (Ontology of time). We consider in this paper all the epistemological consequences of the disassembly operation at several scales (from mesoscopic towards the infra and supra ones), which limits the use of certain concepts of Social Sciences, while providing unmistakable facts. This limitation, it is the decoupling between space and time, as well as the weakening of certain criteria of identity, in the absence of language and / or direct observation of the agents. For these reasons, it may not be the best discipline to handle the material culture in all its generality, neither "the discipline of things".
 
 
Philippe Boissinot, EHESS, UMR5608 CNRS TRACES, Toulouse-Paris, France.

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