The Interpretation of Negative Evidence in Archaeology



One of the important changes ¡n the archaeological paradigm that occurred in the l960s was the expansion of the scope of the problems addressed by researchers. This expansion was sparked largely by Lewis Binford (1968:22), who maintained that "data relevant to most, ¡f not all, the components of past sociocultural systems are preserved ¡n the archaeological record." Binford argued that we are limited not so much by the nature of the archaeological record as by our lack of principles for relating archaeological remains to past human behavior (1968:23). Just as artifacts tend to reflect more than one component of a cultural system, each component of a cultural system should be reflected in various material remains. This meant that gaps in the archaeological record could be circumvented. Where decay had claimed important information, models could be devised that turned to other, nonperishable, remains (Binford 1968:19, 1975:256)

Keywords: Negative Evidence

How to Cite: Stone, G. D. (1981) “The Interpretation of Negative Evidence in Archaeology”, Arizona Anthropologist. 2(0).