This paper argues that we would massively increase the value of our archaeological understanding of the past for the present if we cast it differently. Rather than use a reductionist, ex-post approach (which explains the present by invoking the past, looking for origins), we should be using an "ex ante" approach that looks at the emergence of change, linking past and present to the future. This would allow us to learn from the past for the future. The paper examines some of the difficulties encountered in implementing such a different approach, at the level of our cognition, our scientific practices, and our paradigms, and then illustrates some of the changes in perspective such a shift would bring about by referring to the different discussions of Maya archaeology presented in this volume.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association|
|State||Published - Mar 1 2014|
- Complex systems
- Information processing
ASJC Scopus subject areas