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Back to basics: returning to the evidence and mapping knowledge in south Asian archaeology

Abstract : Abstract In this article we advocate a return to the consideration and examination of the basic building blocks of archaeological enquiry: the evidence. Reacting to a widely held perception that archaeology now understands various commonalities of human experience, we suggest that such concepts and the inevitable oscillation towards “big picture” approaches that stems from them are problematic. They engender a type of scholarship that does not always engage fully with the evidentiary bases of interpretation and that risks assuming a great deal about large parts of the world that have not been studied in as much detail as others. We explore this by looking at the South Asian context, where archaeologists are forced to contend with a number of constraints, chief among which is a relative absence of archaeological evidence. Focusing on one particular sub-region, we piece together exactly what evidence exists and consider what can (and cannot) be said from it. On one level this serves as a useful comparator for those working in other parts of the world who may not appreciate the evidentiary constraints that exist elsewhere. Yet beyond this and simple questions of analogy, we suggest that detailed consideration of an area such as the one presented here forces us to return to even more fundamental questions relating to when archaeological research becomes “interesting”, “ground-breaking”, and “new”; and who decides this.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03224982
Contributor : Saravanan Govindaraj Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 10:08:48 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 13, 2021 - 3:34:57 AM

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Jason Hawkes, Anne Casile. Back to basics: returning to the evidence and mapping knowledge in south Asian archaeology. Journal of East Asian Archaeology, Brill Academic Publishers, 2020, 3 (1-2), pp.95-123. ⟨10.1007/s41826-020-00032-4⟩. ⟨hal-03224982⟩

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