The Grammar of the Archaeological Record

0. The Theory

2. The Concept

Giorgio Buccellati – February 2016

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2.1: A digital book

The full text of the grammar is given within the website as a separate digital book, parallel in format and status to the UGR books.

The rest of this section deals with the general principles that deal with the theoretical principles governing the grammatical approach.

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2.2: Notion


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2.3: Fundamentals


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2.4: Power

The quality of a grammar is judged in part by its “power,” i.e., the effectiveness with which the rules generate an output.

The actual process whereby the output presented here is generated from the data is omitted here. It represents an altogether different exercise from the utilization of the record, requiring as it does the application of specific input protocols and the running of a set of programs. The development of these protocols and the writing of the programs has occupied much of my effort, alongside the development of the theoretical framework embodied in the Grammar and the field work embodied in the current volume with the publication of a subset of the data.

Protocols and programs are described in detail in a separate volume, entitled Operations Manual for the Urkesh Global Record (see the right-hand side ), which is however available only for in house use within the Mozan/Urkesh Archaeological Project.

While actual use of protocols and programs obvoiusly requires a certain amount of training, two main points may be stressed here:

  1. The protocols are quite intuitive, and the programs have been written in function of their use. As a result, the actual recording process, and the coterminous process of data entry, are typically learned very quickly and have typically become second nature for the staff.
  2. The programs operate with great speed on any normal computer, so that the buildup of the entire record for any given excavation "book" takes place in contant concomitance with the data entry itself. Typically, it takes a few seconds to process the few files that are produced on any given day, and less than 5 minutes to process an entire "book" such as this one, which would typically include up to some 40,000 input entries and some 3,000 output files.

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