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The eventual aim is to establish the limits of the archaeological reach.

Archaeology was born during the modern era - just like all the other well-known disciplines.

During the modern epoch all "disciplines" strove towards respectability - to be recognized as disciplined sciences.

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There was an optimism that humans will eventually be able to obtain certain and final knowledge. During the last half-century philosophers of science have leveled severe criticism against the possibility of obtaining final results and in our present post-modern era it is recognized that these goals are for the most part unreachable.

Although all sciences will always be "disciplined", using strict methodology, with various techniques and methods, their ability to obtain final results are limited. Although I am not an archaeologist myself, I have a live interest in this field of study (I come from a philosophy of science background).

In my reading, I find that many researchers still operate in the modernist frame of mind - trying to establish certain "truths".

It seems that a debris of positivism is still silently present in their midst.

"[O]ne of the most interesting things about archaeological material, is you get the same object, you get three archaeologists, you come up with three different interpretations based on that" - Vance Watrous This essay is a critical evaluation of archaeology as a science. How does it compare with the other families of sciences?

Is it an empirical science or does it belong to the hermeneutic disciplines?

I look at archaeology as it is practiced, with special attention to methodology, interpretation of the archaeological record and the role of historical texts.

Also discussed is its relationship with other hermeneutic disciplines (especially textual studies) and how this impacts on the archaeological endeavor.

This brings the question to mind: What type of science is archaeology? Although there are many good articles by philosophers of archaeology that focus on these matters, these philosophers can obviously not remove themselves from the scientific "paradigm" of which they are part (Kuhn 1962).


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