Pour une théorie générale de la connaissance en archéologie

Djindjian, F. (2002) Pour une théorie générale de la connaissance en archéologie. Archeologia e Calcolatori, 13. pp. 101-117. ISSN 1120-6861


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An attempt to build a global cognitive theory in Archaeology is proposed. The archaeological method is based on a three level concept : knowledge acquiring, structuring and modelling, inspired by the XIX century work of Peirce, renewed by recent developments of cognitive Sciences and used today in many fields of Social and Human Sciences, System Engineering, and recently proposed in Archaeology (DJINDJIAN 1993). The knowledge acquiring level A is the result of simultaneous and retroactive use of two mechanisms: several specific analogical processes in archaeology (contemporary analogy, ethnographical analogy, experimental analogy) and a cognitive process, general to Human Sciences. Logical objects used by archaeological reasoning are artefacts, set of artefacts (archaeological layer, dwelling structure, burial, etc.) and methodological objects (unit, sample, core, etc.). Such objects may deliver three categories of data: intrinsic data, extrinsic data and administrative data. Intrinsic data (named I) are a view of an object, resulting in the interaction between the archaeological artefact and the archaeologist who is perceiving and describing it. Intrinsic data is a knowledge of the artefact. Extrinsic data (named E) are data recording the various artefact contexts: spatial and stratigraphic localisation, links with neighbouring artefacts, environment, etc. Extrinsic data depends on the quality of archaeological excavation and recording. In all the cognitive processes, knowledge A must be associated with the archaeologist, ARCH, who is at the origin of the interaction artefact/archaeologist, the process of producing the knowledge, Pc, and the validation process Pv, controlling the reasoning: (A, ARCH, Pc, Pv). The structuring level, S, is discussed in relation with the question of enrichment of structures towards the emergence of a system, through a dedicated method called the systemic triple method (DJINDJIAN 1980): 1. Definition of the system S; 2. Perception and description of intrinsic data I; 3. Recording of extrinsic data E; 4. Formalisation of the structuring process: intrinsic structuring (matrix artefact x intrinsic data, O x I), extrinsic structuring (occurrence or Burt matrix intrinsic data x extrinsic data, I x E); 5. Exploratory data analysis on O x I or I x E; 6. Retroactions on I and E; 7. Iterative enrichment by integration of new I and new E; 8. Validation (using another artefact system, a new E, etc.). The modelling level is then examined with a discussion of the limits of the formal logic in Archaeology: empirical-inductive, where “every structure is Culture”, or hypothetical-deductive methods, where “all the models are fitting well” falling in the weakness of so-called paradigmatic models. A new more restricting method is proposed, called the cognitive model method, CMM. The main features of CMM are: explicit, formalised, repetitive, stable, systemic, refutable, predictive, discursive and auditable. A general method to build a cognitive model is then given, in ten steps; some of them are already known and referenced, others are new and detailed: 1. Improving the knowledge A; 2. Discovering the structures S inside data; 3. Enrichment of structures S; 4. Systemic organisation in hierarchical subsystems; 5. Building models R; 6. Validating models R; 7. Retroactions for enrichment and stabilisation of the models R; 8. Model simulation for predictions; 9. Writing the archaeological discourse; 10. Auditing the discourse. The systemic organisation in hierarchical sub-systems is based on a five level system: 1. Technological know-how; 2. Economic activities: craft production, raw material supplying, subsistence resources, energy resources, buildings (dwellings, infrastructure), territory management, manufacturing, exchange and trading, etc.; 3. Social organisation: workflow, specialisation of professions, social groups, social hierarchies, family structures, community administration, defence, taxes, authority systems, etc.; 4. Symbolic sub-system: ideas and beliefs; 5. Global system. In conclusion, such approaches of methodological development are the most reliable but also the most difficult way to reach a real scientific status for Archaeology.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Djindjian F., Moscati P. (eds.), XIV UISPP Congress (Liège - Belgium 2001). Proceedings of Commission IV Symposia. Data Management and Mathematical Methods in Archaeology
Uncontrolled Keywords: History of applications and research projects; theoretical and methodological problems
Subjects: 900 Storia, Geografia e discipline ausiliarie > 930 Storia dei mondo antico fino al 499 ca. > 930.1 Archeologia (Classificare qui la Storia fino al 4000 a.C., l'Archeologia preistorica, le opere interdisciplinari sull'Archeologia) > 930.102 Archeologia - Opere miscellanee > 930.1028 Archeologia – Tecniche, metodologie, apparecchi e strumenti (comprende: Archeometria) > 930.10285 Archeologia – Applicazioni informatiche (comprende: tecniche di datazione)
Depositing User: Dott.ssa Paola Moscati
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2009
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 10:04
URI: http://eprints.bice.rm.cnr.it/id/eprint/816

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