Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Quality of the Archaeological Record$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Charles Perreault

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226630823

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226631011.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 May 2022

The Sources of Underdetermination

The Sources of Underdetermination

(p.23) 2 The Sources of Underdetermination
The Quality of the Archaeological Record

Charles Perreault

University of Chicago Press

A theory that describes the pathways by which processes can be archaeologically equifinal is developed. There are four aspects of the quality of any set of empirical data: scope, sampling interval, resolution, and dimensionality. The scope refers to the total amount of space and time that is represented in a data set. The sampling interval denotes the interval of time or space that separates the analytical units. The resolution is the amount of space and time that are represented within each unit. And dimensionality describes the independent variables of an object of study that have been measured. Each one of these four aspects of the quality of a dataset can lead to equifinality. Reducing equifinality can be done by improving the quality of the data. But it is always possible that the smoking gun that would resolve a question has been destroyed and is forever lost. When this happens, there is only one thing left to do: to abandon the study of those processes that are equifinal and focus instead on the those that operate over temporal and spatial scales that are similar to that of archaeological data, and where the complexity is matched by the data’s dimensionality.

Keywords:   Equifinality, Scope, Sampling interval, Resolution, Data quality, Temporal scale, Spatial scale, Undetermination

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.