Ethnoarchaeology 1-2


Ethnoarchaeology AIMS explain behavioral traditions of early human past, by discovering irregularities in contemporary present. MLK Murty. 

Its basic principle is using analogy of present to explain the past like comma traditions, material culture, substance, land use, settlements, craft specialisation, trade networks, rituals and so on. But it should also be backed up by non analogical grounds. 

C Sinopoli. 1991. 

Main topics. 

  1. Site formation and depositional process.
  2. Studying traditional technologies and community settlement patterns.
  3. Human environment relation.
  4. Material implications of social systems, ideologies and beliefs. 

Studies. Pick one.

Malti Nagar 1970 studied ahar culture of chacolithic complex of Ahar culture banas Valley which is similar to to present a pottery in the region. She noted that design garments of bhil women are similar to designs of ahar pottery. Provided understanding of regional traditions and craft specialisation. 

Ansari studied mesolithic and chalcolithic culture of Ganga and belan Valley with current tribes in the region kol and Mallah. Studied their settlements, architecture, food refuse etc.

Art and craft. Saraswati 1978 studied potters, stone workers, metal casters in South Asia to study relationship between producers and consumers and their distribution and exchange system. This explains archaeological distribution of materials. Concluded that at North Indian pottery has continued from Harappan times till present. 


Cannot make generalisation from single case. C Sinopoli. 1991

Should not view India as static and tribal culture is always changing. 

Material parallel do not always demonstrate social cultural and behavioral parallel. Allchin 1985.

The environment has also changed.

So, ethnoarchaeology is not a blue print for the past but a framework to understand the past.