DOI link for Introduction
'To interpret' is one of those incorrigible and annoying little verbs whose meaning is apparently simple and yet simultaneously remains almost impossible to define. The very existence of this verb and the noun 'interpretation' suggest this to be a special kind of activity and at least relatively distinct from others. Material culture may be physically embodied but it is at the same time culturally emergent. Only extensional predicates are needed to write about physical objects so that the author may describe a flower or a cultural object while in no sense be interpreting it. The traditional way of viewing material culture, and more widely the archaeological record, is that it is in some way a self-sufficient repository of meaning. The task of the archaeologist is to develop theoretical and methodological tools that will enable the efficient extraction of this meaning.