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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Ethnoarchaeology examines the relationship between people and their material worlds in ways that are useful to archaeological interpretation. As a research strategy, practitioners apply it with diverse theoretical and topical interests but are bound by a common concern: constructing strong analogy. This goal distinguishes ethnoarchaeology from the broader field of material culture studies to which it is an important contributor. Africanist ethnoarchaeology has dominated the ethnoarchaeological literature since the 1970s and has engaged in key archaeological debates and interests. This article presents an overview of ethnoarchaeological approaches and summarise four major research foci and the debates to which they contribute: human evolution, social interpretations of settlement, style and identity, and technology. It notes that ethnoarchaeology has contributed to the deconstruction of colonial ideologies of African social and technological achievements, and to the documentation of African history.

Keywords: Africanist ethnoarchaeology, ethnoarchaeological approaches, human evolution, settlement, material culture, colonial ideologies

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