Analogy in Archaeology

Though there is so much criticism on the use of analogy as a means of interpreting data, there has not been another method found to replace it and give accurate interpretation about remains or artifacts. In fact, other stages of archeology have greatly advanced but have left this third stage of interpretation lagging behind. Analogy still remains as the most interpretive tool that is used in archeology.


In conclusion, human history is of essence to us and we must study the little evidence we get so that we can be in a position to understand what actually happened in the past. It would have been easy if the people who lived in the historic times were literate so that they could record this information for us, but unfortunately they were not and the few elite who could write they wrote very little that may not be very helpful in today’s history. Therefore, a method to help us interpret evidence collected and remains is analogy.

There are different studies in archaeology, where the interpretive tool of analogy is used. They are in ethnographic analogy. In this case, we use historically recorded material and behavior to interpret evidence collected through making of analogies. Additionally, it can also be used in ethnoarcheology, where there is no historical data, which was previously recorded that is used. Instead, the archeologists himself goes to the field to try and get this information, which is then used to make analogies and come up with interpretive data on the evidence collected. Lastly, the archeology method of analogy can be applied, is experimental archeology. In this case, the archeologist gets people to believe that, that particular period he or she observes their behavior, which is then used to make analogies that help in making interpretation about evidence collected.

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