chapter  1
Introduction and polemic
Pages 41

This chapter explores a selective appraisal of the primary dispositions underpinning analytical archaeology and framing its orientation. The method of isomorphism must be used with the greatest care but if properly controlled it offers primitive disciplines, such as archaeology, the chance to borrow sophisticated, powerful, and beautiful pieces of model machinery beyond their own temporarily limited powers of fabrication. Where the disciplines are primitive and their fields excessively complex, as in archaeology, sociology, and social anthropology, then such a borrowing procedure is likely to save a great deal of time. Archaeological syntactics is concerned with the domain of artefacts as phenomena suitable for empirical study in their own right; where the term artefact is intended to convey every level in the systems, from attribute state to technocomplex. Archaeological pragmatics defines a field for the consideration, or attempted consideration, of artefacts within sociocultural contexts, in its recent aspect this constitutes cultural ethnology.