The Fate of Evolutionary Archaeology: Survival or Extinction?

Gabora, Dr. Liane M. (2006) The Fate of Evolutionary Archaeology: Survival or Extinction? [Journal (Paginated)]

Full text available as:



It is important to be clear as to whether a theory such as evolutionary archaeology pertains to biological evolution, in which acquired change is obliterated at the end of each generation, or cultural change, in which acquired change is retained. In evolutionary archaeology, (1) the population is said to consist of artifacts, yet (2) artifacts are said to be phenotypic. Neither (1) nor (2) is necessarily problematic in and of itself, but the two are inconsistent, as the first pertains to cultural change whereas the second to the biological evolution of humans. A first step to avoiding this problem is to recognize that there is a need for a theory of change specific to human culture. Referring to ongoing work using a related approach to cultural change, it is suggested that the inconsistencies in evolutionary archaeology, though problematic, are not insurmountable.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:acquired characteristics, evolutionary archaeology, inheritance, lineage, natural selection, phenotypic trait, unit of replication
Subjects:Biology > Evolution
Psychology > Evolutionary Psychology
Philosophy > Epistemology
ID Code:5582
Deposited By:Gabora, Dr. Liane
Deposited On:07 Jun 2007
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:56

References in Article

Select the SEEK icon to attempt to find the referenced article. If it does not appear to be in cogprints you will be forwarded to the paracite service. Poorly formated references will probably not work.

Bamforth, D. B. 2002. Evolution and metaphor in evolutionary archaeology. American Antiquity, 67: 435-52.

Boone, J. L., Smith, E. A. 1998. Is it evolution yet? A Critique of Evolutionary Archaeology. Current Anthropology, 39: S141-73.

Fisher, R. A. 1930. The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection. Clarendon: Oxford University Press.

Gabora, L. 1995. Meme and Variations: A computer model of cultural evolution. In 1993 Lectures in Complex Systems (eds. Nadel, L., Stein, D.), Reading MA: Addison-Wesley, pp. 471-486.

Gabora, L. 1998. A tentative scenario for the origin of culture. Psycoloquy, 9(67).

Gabora, L. 2000. Conceptual closure: Weaving memories into an interconnected worldview. In Closure: Emergent Organizations and their Dynamics (eds. Van de Vijver, G., Chandler, J.). Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 901, New York.

Gabora, L. 2004. Ideas are not replicators but minds are. Biology & Philosophy, 19(1): 127-143.

Gabora, L. 2005. Mind: What archaeology can tell us about the origins of human cognition. In Handbook of Theories and Methods in Archaeology (eds. A. Bentley and H. Maschner). Walnut Creek CA: Altamira Press.

Gabora, L. 2005. Creative thought as a non-Darwinian evolutionary process. Journal of Creative Behavior, 39(4): 65-87.

Gabora, L. 2006. Self-other organization: Why early life did not evolve through natural selection. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 241(3): 443-450.

Gabora, L. & Aerts, D. 2005. Distilling the essence of an evolutionary process, and implications for a formal description of culture. In Proceedings of Center for Human Evolution Workshop #5: Cultural Evolution, May 2000 (ed. W. Kistler). Foundation for the Future, Seattle WA.

Gabora, L. & Aerts, D. 2005. Evolution as context-driven actualization of potential: Toward an interdisciplinary theory of change of state. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 30(1): 69-88.

Haldane, J. B. S. 1932. The Causes of Evolution. New York: Longman.

Kauffman, S. A. 1993. Origins of Order. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kehoe, A. B. 2000. Evolutionary archaeology challenges the future of archaeology: Response to O’Brien and Lyman. Review of Archaeology, 21: 33-38.

Loney, H. L. 2000. Society and technological control: A critical review of models of technological change in ceramic studies. American Antiquity, 65: 646-668.

Lyman, R. L. and O’Brien, M. J. 1997. Goals of evolutionary archaeology: history and explanation. Current Anthropology, 39(5): 615-652.

Murray, T. 2002. Evaluating evolutionary archaeology. World Archaeology, 34(1): 47-59.

Neff, H. 2000. On evolutionary ecology and evolutionary archaeology: Some common ground? Current Anthropology, 41: 427-429.

O’Brien, M. J. 1996a. The historical development of an evolutionary archaeology. In Darwinian Archaeologies (ed. H. D. G. Maschner). New York: Plenum Press, pp. 17-32.

O’Brien, M. J. 1996b. Evolutionary archaeology: An introduction. In Evolutionary Archaeology: Theory and Application (ed. M. J. O’Brien). Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, pp. 1-15.

O’Brien, M. J. 2005. Evolutionism and North American’s archaeological record. World Archaeology, 37(1): 26-45.

O’Brien, M. J., Lyman, R. L. 2004. History and explanation in archaeology. Anthropological Theory, 4(2): 173-197.

Preucel, R. W. 1999. Review of “Evolutionary Archaeology: Theory and Application”. Journal of Field Archaeology, 26: 93-99.

Renfrew, C. 1982. Towards an Archaeology of Mind: An Inaugural Lecture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schiffer, M. B. 1996. Some relationships between behavioral and evolutionary archaeologies. American Antiquity, 61: 643-662.

Shennan, S. 2002. Archaeology evolving: History, adaptation, self-organization. Antiquity, 76: 253-256.

Spencer, C. S. 1997. Evolutionary approaches in archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Research, 5: 209-264.

Wright, S. 1931. Evolution in Mendelian populations. Genetics, 16: 97-159.

Wylie, W. 2000. Questions of Evidence, Legitimacy, and the (Dis)Unity of Science. American Antiquity, 65(2): 227-237.


Repository Staff Only: item control page