Reflections about Contemporary Ethnoarchaeology / Reflexiones sobre etnoarqueología contemporánea

Gustavo G. Politis

DOI: 10.1344/Pyrenae2015.vol46num1.3


This article discusses some of the central topics in ethnoarchaeology and approaches them from a Latin American perspective. The development of the subdiscipline is summarized and analyzed, and case studies in the region are provided. Moreover, since ethnoarchaeology in Latin America cannot be detached from the state of the discipline in the rest of the world, there are references to global developments that aim to contextualize these case studies. Some of the criticisms made against the subdiscipline are included as well, and they are discussed in the light of the current situation. Ethnoarchaeology’s contributions to the interpretation of the archaeological record and to theory building in archaeology are examined. It is concluded that one of the main contributions of ethnoarchaeology is the mitigation of the ethnocentrism that permeates the archaeological view of the people in the past and the interpretation of long-term human processes. With its particular purview on contemporary societies, ethnoarchaeology is providing substantial input, not only to the understanding of human behavior, but also to archaeological theory.