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Example text

It remains to be seen how the consequences of such ideas will be worked out in archaeology (see, for example, Bentley and Maschner 2001), but the existence of the phenomenon of selforganized criticality makes the important point that, even though the starting point for the processes may be patterns of decision-making, the resulting dynamics of change through time can be both complex and counter-intuitive. Given the complexity and abstraction of the ideas which have been presented in this chapter, it seems appropriate to finish by looking briefly at two examples which attempt to understand precisely the kind of Markovian diachronic patterns which Clarke argued were the concern of analytical archaeology and which are also at the heart of evolutionary approaches to culture.

Lyman, R. , M. J. O’Brien, and R. C. Dunnell 1997. The Rise and Fall of Culture History. New York: Plenum. Mace, R. and M. D. Pagel 1994. ’’ Current Anthropology 35: 549–64. Maschner, H. ) 1996. Darwinian Archaeologies. New York: Plenum Press. Mithen, S. 1990. Thoughtful Foragers: A Study of Human Decision-Making. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Moore, J. H. 1994. ’’ American Anthropologist 96: 925–48. Neiman, F. D. 1995. ’’ American Antiquity 60: 7–36. Nettle, D. 1999. Linguistic Diversity.

It followed from this that major changes occurred through the replacement of one tradition by another and therefore of one people by another, at least where material culture production was domestic rather than in the hands of specialists. Within the European tradition, this idea suited the relatively short timescales available for change, and the nationalistic view of peoples as historical actors having pasts and destinies. Lesser changes were seen as resulting from diffusion. Both migration and diffusion were considered unproblematic concepts.

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