O paleontologie a „omului etern”: arheologia paleoliticului din România

Cercetări Arheologice 13, 2006, 135-158

O paleontologie a „omului etern”: arheologia paleoliticului din România

Authors: Mircea Anghelinu

Keywords: paleolithic archaeology; history of archaeology; paleontology; research paradigms


The paper critically reviews the basic theoretical premises that lead the current practice of Romanian Paleolithic archaeology. The author emphasizes that, while the theoretical background of the entire prehistoric archaeology in Romania belongs to the humanities, the practice seems rather close to paleontology and geology. This conflicting attitudes stem from the dominant culture-history paradigm core, which excessively stresses the unity of human condition and the normative content of the human behavior. These uniformitarian view leaves a little room for the actual cultural variability in the past and endow archaeology the simple mission of measuring the differences in the past material cultures simply on typological grounds. The unwise faith in the “eternal man” shrinks the critical awareness concerning the peculiarity of hunter-gatherer behavior and also hides the lack of a true middle-range theory. In the absence of this “Rosetta stone” – as Binford put it – the interpretation of human behavior in the past is left to commonsense (i.e. archaeologists’ intuition and perspicacity). That in turn explains the simplicity of archaeological reconstruction in what concerns settlements systems, population movements or technological choices, which could be all easily dismissed on ethnographical grounds. As a matter of fact, these interpretations are usually avoided precisely because no coherent theoretical models are available. The only task left for archaeologists is the never-ending assemblage description and the continuous improvement of the chrono-taxonomic system. The author criticizes the paleontological research model and advocates for a more ethnographically-inspired humanistic approach.

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How to cite: Mircea Anghelinu, O paleontologie a „omului etern”: arheologia paleoliticului din România, Cercetări Arheologice, Vol. 13, pag. 135-158, 2006, doi: https://doi.org/10.46535/ca.13.05

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