1: G. Buccellati, February 2003


     Serious debates about certain aspects of philosophy, in particular system theory and the philosophy of science, have characterized the recent progress of the discipline of archaeology. These will be treated more specifically in the section on archaeology as a method of analysis.
     In this section we will look more specifically at the broader philosophical presuppositions that condition our scholarly effort.

     We will first consider specific issues that inevitably affect our conclusions, in particular: how do we read (or infuse?) meaning in the record, particularly with regard to our confidence in a valid epistemology that allows us to consider objectively our handling of a human experience so far removed from our own.

     In spite of my fundamental acceptance of such an underlying (ultimately, one might say, ontological) validity of our mental constructs, I will make a case for a dimension of modern thought, deconstruction, that is, in unexpected ways, central to the core effort of the Urkesh website.
     In the same light, though in apparent contrast with the thrust of deconstruction, I will argue for the value of an application of taxonomy to our Urkesh universe that (a) cannot be considered nominalistic, and (b) is not to be viewed as irreconcilable with a humanistic appropriation of experience.

     Only a few references are adduced here from a vast literature on the subject.

J.-C. Gardin and C. S. Peebles
Representations in Archaeology. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
An series of articles dealing especially with semiotics and its application in archaeology (and conversely, how archaeology can contribute to semiotics).