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Literally, ‘many voices’; an approach to archaeological reasoning, explanation, and understanding that accepts a high degree of relativism and thus encourages the contemporaneous articulation of numerous different narratives or parallel discourses. Thus different groups will adopt different positions in relation to their interpretation of the past, and the meanings that they attach to physical remains. While respecting the right of any group or individual to develop and expound a particular interpretation of some aspect of the past there is some debate as to whether all such parallel positions should be treated as equally acceptable, especially where a particular position is being overtly used, or misused, as a political tool. Ian Hodder has argued (2000) that the misuse of the past can only be evaluated socially and ethically, while most archaeologists, however relativist, would accept that archaeological interpretation should be grounded in, and somehow answerable to, data of some kind.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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