chapter  1
4 Pages

Introduction Still Life of Sherds

This book was planned as synthesis and has em erged as speculation. In between cam e a phase o f Binfordian fellow -travelling. W h y this uncertainty o f aim ? W h y so m any changes o f plan?

Com plete synthesis is alw ays impossible since it presupposes finite data and the exhaustion o f all approaches. But it is particularly difficult when so little o f this basic data has been properly collected or recorded. A d d to that the frustration that little carefully collected m aterial is ever accessible. Few excavations reach the printer; academ ic distinction is apparently measured by the num ber o f projects abandoned. But to turn entirely to theory w ould be dull for both author and reader, and to discuss m ethodology w ithout appropriate data is as likely to win converts as a party political broadcast. For these reasons alone, w hat has em erged is a trial piece, from w hich outlines can be copied or erased. It is a personal interpretation o f biased and elusive evidence.