One step forward and two steps back: archaeology, dna and the infantilization of research

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  • One step forward and two steps back: archaeology, dna and the infantilization of research

Dublin Core

Title

One step forward and two steps back: archaeology, dna and the infantilization of research

Subject

S5-3, Archaeozoology and palaeogenetics: potentials and limits, oral

Description

Abstract:

Recent advances in genetic research, particularly in the study of ancient DNA, have opened up new interesting avenues of research in archaeology. These opportunities have, however, been accompanied by a substantial body of questions and problems. Some of these are technical and methodological, and will not be discussed as part of this paper, which rather deals with the epistemological nature of the problems. A potentially controversial issue that will be highlighted is that the genetic tool may have seemed to some archaeologists to be so powerful that this has led them to become overanxious to find straightforward answers to their questions. This has unfortunately at times occurred at the expenses of scientific rigour and intellectual honesty. Good, simple stories fit well with the general dumbing down of critical thought, so much acclaimed in the era of global markets and anti intellectualism. They also have the unquestionable advantage of being liked by funding bodies and top rated journals. Competitive and careerist attitudes have therefore persuaded many researchers to jump on the bandwagon of genetic analysis. Anxiety to succeed has, however, blinded many of them from paying attention to the possibility that their sanitised accounts may bear little relation with the complexities of human behaviour and history. Past and current attitudes and possible solutions will be discussed, with a special attention to potential scenarios for the future.

Authors:

ALBARELLA Umberto

Affiliations

University of Sheffield, Northgate House, West Street, S1 4ET, Sheffield, UK. u.albarella@sheffield.ac.uk

Creator

Albarella, Umberto

Date

August 2010

Contribution Form

Online Submission

No

Document Item Type Metadata

Citation

Albarella, Umberto. "One step forward and two steps back: archaeology, dna and the infantilization of research ," in BoneCommons, Item #923, http://alexandriaarchive.org/bonecommons/items/show/923 (accessed December 6, 2019).

License

Creative Commons License

File: S5-3_25-08_ALBARELLA.ppt