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The Neolithic Argonauts of the Western Mediterranean and Other Underdetermined Hypotheses of Colonial Encounters

AuthorsDíaz del Río, Pedro
Western Mediterranean
Issue Date4-Jan-2011
SeriesDouglas J. Bolender (Ed.) 2010: Eventful Archaeologies New Approaches to Social Transformation in the Archaeological Record.
The Institute for European and Mediterranean Archaeology Distinguished Monograph Series. Suny Press. New York.
AbstractThe more we charge specifi c historical events with explanatory causality, the more possible alternative pasts we will be able to construct. In this paper I argue that this fact critically affects the interpretations of those of us who rely on an extremely limited and incomplete data set, and no available textual source. This adds up to the fact that prehistorians seldom have the evidence to claim that a particular set of occurrences may in fact be a transformative event in a Sewellian sense, partially—but not only—because of the diffi culties in establishing any detailed succession of happenings, and thus have problems arguing that a specifi c event had a structural effect. Nevertheless, and as Sewell also suggests, we may shift in spatial and temporal scales and confront “eventful” analyses of macrohistorical processes. In order to discuss these issues I have used a characteristically underdetermined hypothesis: the arrival of seafaring Neolithic colonists— Argonauts —on the Iberian coast, a local event that has been said to have a structural effect at a regional scale.
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