chapter  3
Cultural morphology and cultural ecology – the setting
Pages 65

One of the main reasons for the premature attempt at a general model for cultural processes is the need to emphasize that the systems of relationships investigated by archaeologists are but special manifes­ tations of much more comprehensive systems that once existed. The striking similarities in the structure, complexity, and inherent ‘behaviour’ of archaeological and anthropological data stems from their joint generation as products of the same kinds of system - human societies. One of the distinctive attributes of such societies is culture - the communication system of acquired beliefs which increasingly supplements instinctive behaviour in man. Regardless of their specific outward form, all cultural systems consist of learned modes of behaviour and its material manifestations, socially transmitted from one society or individual to another. A cultural system is therefore an organized structure integrating amongst others, social, religious, psy­ chological, linguistic, economic and material culture subsystems. These subsystems are the equilibrium networks within any particular cultural system, coupled one with another and with the external environing system. In order to understand the many possible mean­ ings of the regularities that he discovers, the archaeologist must be aware of the complex connections between his subsystem’s input and output and that of the other interconnected subsystems networking the overall system. How else can the archaeologist hope to interpret

the social, religious, economic, and other kindred aspects of his material ?