Concept

Systems theory in archaeology

Summary
Systems theory in archaeology is the application of systems theory and systems thinking in archaeology. It originated with the work of Ludwig von Bertalanffy in the 1950s, and is introduced in archaeology in the 1960s with the work of Sally R. Binford & Lewis Binford's "New Perspectives in Archaeology" and Kent V. Flannery's "Archaeological Systems Theory and Early Mesoamerica". Overview Bertalanffy attempted to construct a general systems theory that would explain the interactions of different variables in a variety of systems, no matter what those variables actually represented. A system was defined as a group of interacting parts and the relative influence of these parts followed rules which, once formulated could be used to describe the system no matter what the actual components were. Binford stated the problem in New Perspectives in Archaeology, identifying the low range theory, the middle range theory, and the upper range theory.
  • The low range theory could be us
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