Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (05): 952-958.doi: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0039

• Literature Reviews • Previous Articles    

Paradigms of archaeometric studies

HU Yaowu1,2()   

  1. 1. Department of Cultural Heritage and Museology, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433
    2. Institute of Archaeological Science, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433
  • Received:2021-07-13 Revised:2021-10-18 Online:2022-10-15 Published:2022-10-13


The concept of paradigm is defined as the world view and behavioral pattern abided by the science community in one specific normal science universally. Since its creation in 1960’s, paradigm has been widely used in many scientific fields. It was introduced to archaeology discipline between 1970’s and 1980’s and has been widely discussed in domestic and oversea scholars. Archaeometry or archaeological science, the interdisciplinary subject based on the interplay of the natural sciences and archaeology, has developed quickly since 1960’s and had revolutionary impacts on the theories, methods and practices of archaeology. However, the archaeometric paradigms have never been discussed in domestic and international fields. On the basis of the author’s practices on teaching, research, and graduate training in the archaeometric field for 20 years, the author would like to put forward the archaeometric paradigm from the own perspective. At first, the paper introduced the paradigms of nature sciences and archaeology respectively. Subsequently, three paradigms of archaeometric studies were suggested for the first time, i.e., science paradigm, archaeology paradigm, and convergence paradigm of science and archaeology. The details on theories, methodology, and practices of these paradigms were demonstrated. The science paradigm focuses on the exploration of new scientific methods and analytical techniques in the research while the archaeology paradigm concentrates on the interpretation of scientific data within the archaeological contexts and tries to answer the archaeological questions. The convergence paradigm of science and archaeology converges the theories, methods and technology from many disciplines such as natural sciences, archaeology, history, anthropology and other related humanity sciences and social sciences, and its purpose is to solve the important archaeological questions. Furthermore, the contributions of each paradigms to archaeometric studies were also discussed. The science paradigm is the “engine” to accelerate the development of archaeometry, and while the archaeology paradigm is the “steering” to control the research direction of archaeometry. The convergence paradigm of science and archaeology is the “center console” to reconcile several fields of archaeometric research that will lead to the fusion of science and archaeology as a whole. No matter what paradigm the researchers would like to follow, they must build on the both grounds of scientific and archaeological knowledge structures. Finally, the author also puts forward some views on how to build the knowledge system of researchers under the research paradigm of scientific and technological archaeology.

Key words: Science, Technology, Archaeology, Paradigm, Convergence

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