Evolutionary Theory in Archaeological Explanation



In spite of the the fact that archaeology embodies the study of change, it is only within the last few years that neo-Darwinian theory has begun to have an impact on archaeological explanation. This lack of acceptance of neo-Darwinian theory in archaeology is in part the result of a long history of archaeologists misunderstanding the processes and expectations of evolutionary theory. This volume attempts to illustrate the applicability of neo-Darwinian theory in archaeology by compiling studies that use this theoretical basis to resolve archaeological problems at varying degrees of temporal depth, at varying scales of social complexity, and employing varying metholodologies. Although a broad range of topics are covered in this volume, a number of issues remain to be addressed, including: links between evolutionary units and archaeological explanation; processes involved with the origin of behavioral variability; processes involved with the transmission of behavior; evaluating behavioral fitness; and the role of ‘non-Darwinian’ processes in behavioral change.