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Comparing in archaeology through a quantitative approach: dealing with similarity and dissimilarity issues

AutorAchino, Katia; Duboscq, Stephanie; Morell, Berta; Gibaja, Juan Francisco
Palabras claveReverse problems
Observable archaeological record
Burial practices
NE of the Iberian Peninsula
Causal mechanisms
Fecha de publicación2017
EditorCambridge Scholars Publishing
CitaciónRethinking Comparison in Archaeology : 74-89 (2017)
ResumenArchaeologists usually deal with the so-called “reverse problems”. Thus, our aim is to infer the causal mechanisms that have produced the observable archaeological record. It is a difficult task in light of the fact that different social practices can lead to similar material traces. Whilst this is perceived as a problematic issue, archaeologists continue to establish inferences drawing parallels and comparisons between objects (in micro scale) and archaeological context (in a macro scale) due to their ostensible similarity, ignoring if they were the result of the same cause or intention. Furthermore, the concept of similarity is often defined in an unquantifiable way, making more difficult the control of the hypotheses. In this paper we propose to approach these matters from a theoretical point of view. From a particular case-study, the Neolithic burial practices from the NE of the Iberian Peninsula, we present the possibilities of learning algorithms from Computer Science. Such techniques could prove to be a useful tool to infer the causal mechanisms which produced the archaeological record.
DescripciónForma parte de: Vale, Ana (ed.); Alves-Ferreira, Joana (ed.); Garcia Rovira, Irene (ed.). "Rethinking Comparison in Archaeology". Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Isbn 978-1-4438-7285-0.
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