METHODOLOGY \ PRINCIPLES \ Domains \310hum
1: G. Buccellati, February 2008

Humanities

Concepts and terminology
Bibliography

Concepts and terminology

     The first is the controlled appropriation of experience: the identification of patterns as evidenced in material culture can serve to train our experience as it did that of those who first came to its fruition. It is in the formal and arguable control over patterns that lies the difference between my approach and those of colleagues as diverse as Marija Gimbutas and Ian Hodder. A good model is linguistics and especially semiotics when dealing with "dead" languages. They go well beyond the one to one correlation of a "literal" translation, and offer a handle with which to hold on to the argument. And the methodological hallmark is distributional analysis.
     Closely related, in a sort of converse way, is perceptual analysis. Perception can be closely related to material culture and the physical environment, hence it is especially useful when dealing with broken traditions such as those that we reassemble through archaeology. For example, correlations of architectural features may point towards a specific awareness of spaces and volumes that guide and condition the perception of the built environment and beyond it of the natural environment. For this reason, conservation and judicious reconstruction are intrinsic to archaeology proper (and not just out of a sense of social responsibility), because they help us identify with perception (how different is the peristyle of a Greek temple when light and volumes are seen with a roof in place, rather than as free-standing columns!). (Incidentally, I think that perceptual analysis is the best way to approach the goals of cognitive archaeology.)
     A third aspect is the care for the development of an argument in ways that are more responsive to the nicety of style. Not that social scientists can't write - far from it. But the trend towards data categorization, tabular organization, statistical computations, seems to me so strong that at times it is assumed (especially by our less sophisticated undergraduate?) to take the place of a properly construed inference, one that pays attention to all the appropriate nuances. In its crudest form, we see this in the belief that the juxtaposition of data gathered through a search (Google or otherwise) emerges with the force of an argument.
     The fourth is the opportunity to develop a more properly digital thought than we have done so far. Attached you will find the manuscript of an article to appear in the Ivanov Festschrift; it is the first draft of a longer digital monograph which I am completing for the Urkesh website. Not that any of this cannot be accomplished by social scientists. But it is, I think, the "sense and sensibility" of the humanist that can best help develop a proper theoretical framework within which these trends can become operative.
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Bibliography

      Bintliff and philosophy
Preziosi and the Built Environment
Carandini
Maurizio Forte approach to visualization
Willeke .
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