For years, archaeologists have used the archaeological record as if it was a window on the past. As if they could look through it, like an observer behind a one-way mirror, and study past human societies the way cultural anthropologist would do. In doing so, archaeologists have uncritically borrowed a programmatic agenda that was designed by, and for, researchers who study humans in the present-time and using data that has a scope, a sampling interval, a resolution, and a dimensionality that is orders of magnitude different than what archaeologists have access to. Unlike the study of cultural history, macroarchaeology, that is, the search for mega-scale patterns and processes in the archaeological record, is uncharted territory. The current theories of human culture have virtually nothing to say about what mega-trends could exist in the archaeological record, or about what mega-scale drivers, such as climate or biogeography, might have shaped the course of human history.
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