interpretive archaeology

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An approach to archaeology that builds out of post‐processual thinking as a simple reaction to processual archaeology and instead sees interpretation as a creative process with a number of key characteristics: in the foreground is the person and work of the interpreter; archaeology is a material practice in the present which makes knowledge and narratives from the material traces of the past; archaeology is social practice which is to do with meanings and making sense of things; the interpretive process is an ongoing one in which there can be no final or definitive account of the past; that interpretations are less concerned with explanations than with making sense of things that were probably never certain in the first place; that interpretation is multivocal in the sense that different interpretations of the same thing are possible; and that there can be plurality of interpretation in which each strand is suited to the different purposes, needs, and desires of a different constituency.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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