Systems theory, the idea that culture is a system with subsystems that interplay to form processes. these systems can be broken down into mathematical units and statistically analyzed to identify patterns. Middle range theory is a big player here as well. this is the idea that we can find similar patterns, be it in the archaeological record, or through ethnoarchaeological analogy, that reveals the processes of how archaeological material ends up manifested as it does. the goal is to be able to form generalizations in cultural processes, otherwise known as laws in other scientific fields. this scientific approach leads to "objective" conclusions.