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lnternational Review

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of Ethnology and Linguistics


Revue lnternationale

d'Ethnologie et de Linguistique
Ephemeris lnternationalis
Ethnologica et Linguistica

P
T|TUTUM ANTHROPOS

vol.

s
72 -1977

Prehistoric rcaeology
and the Problem of Ethno Cognition.
Mlxrnnn K. H. Eoconr

Contents

1, ,The Fallacy of Misconceived Scientific Procedure


2. Ttte Fallacy of the Misconceived Nature of Archaeological Data

3. Te Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness


4. The Fallacy of Mistaken Reality
5, Conclusion,

In an earlier paper (Eccers 1976b) the author has shown that recent publica
on the problem of prehistoric cognition failed to provide methods suited for
cognitive information from archaeological data. The present paper addresses itself to
question whether or not such information can be obtained by prehistoric
It is argued that those who favor such an aim fell a victim of four major fallacies due
a misconception of scientific procedure, of the nature of archaeological data, of the
vs. entity problem, and of reality.

In the last two decades cultural anthropologists have placed


emphasis upn certain theoretical and. methodological issues which are
in fol,k cognition and referred to und.er various labels such as
Ethmosernant'ics, Nea Etknogrhy or, most recently, Cognitiue A

This article grew out of a paper read in K, C. CrrNc's seminar "Topics


Issues in Archaeology" at Yale University in the fall o1 1973. An earlier clraft was
by K. C. Cner.rc, Enxst W. Mr-r-on, \Mrrnpru Rrzer-, InvrNc Roust, Re'BrUsr-an, and Rorcpn VossBN. Their critical advice, though not always followed,
gratefully acknowledged. For detailed discussions of various issues put forward here
am particularly indebted to InvrNo Rouse. Finally, I want to thank especially
uenrs K. EocenT, who took an essential .part in shaping my ideas as to the
discussed. I should like to add that this paper was prepared while I was holding a
ship of tlne Stwd,iensti,ftung
respectively.

d,es

dewtschen Vol'hes and' ltre Dewtsake

Prehistoric Archaeology and the Problem of

Ethno-Cognition

243

think that these developments promise "a revolution in


anthropology" (GleowrN and Srunrrvtlr L962 : 72).
Efforts to discover and analyze folk systems of cognition are not conned
H ere, I shall address m yself to corresponding attempts
a/rfiral an thropologY
prehistoric
archaeology
of
the field
Ouite a few publications have appeared by now which in one way or the
re directed toward the problem of the decipherment of ancient cog. Some of them state their concern and objectives in a rather explicit
(e. g., GenorN 1965; Cuexc 1967, t967b; AnNolo t97I), whereas
approach the subject more indirectly (e. g., Drz 7967, L968). Still
though most of them do not purport to deal with prehistoric cognitive
at all, clearly belong into that realm. This is certainly true with regard
the famous debate between Jeltns Fono and Ar.ncnr Speur,oruc about
archaeological types are discovered or designed by the archaeologist
L954,7954b; SpeuloINc 1,953, 1954). Another case in point is provided
some of the studies concerned with so-called tye-uariety systemtics (e. g.,
t960, 7967, 1963; VossnN 1969, 1970)
Thus far, ethnosemantic analysis in cultural anthropology is based solely
linguistic material or, more precisely, on fol'k classif,ctions. To my knowlthere does not exist any study which attempts to follow Wrr.r.rert
ANT's suggestion "not to restrict the meaning of ethnoscience to the
of l,erminologicl' systems" (Srunrnvexr 1964: 481). However, Srunrnhimself did not propose any means of implementing his suggestion. If
had been able to do so, his proposal would certainly have proved to be of
importance for prehistoric archaeology as well. That is to say, the most
problem encountered by prehistorians interested in the derivation of
meaning from archaeological material stems from its lack of linguistic
tion. Unless one is able to create a substitute for this very integral
of cognitive anthropology, i.., to look for phenomena in the material
which could have served- as a kind of nonlinguistic communication
(see SrunrnvNr 1964:480-481), any attempts toward discovering
cognitive systems are bound to fail.
It has been shown elsewhere that in the publications on ancient cognition
cited a bove, no methods have been worked out for deriving information of
t kind from the archaeological record (Eccnnr I976b). In the present
per I should like to address myself mainly to the question whether or not
a procedure can be successfully elaborated at all. f propose to accomplish this by a discussion of four major and. partly interrelated topics which
m my judgment have to be considered as fallacies on the part of prehistorians
ting the study of ancient cognition
1969). Some

1. The Fallacy of Misconceived Scientific Procedure

It is a constantly repeated postulate of students interested in prehistoric


tive systems that the scientific categories put forward by the prehistorian
be modelled after the classificatory units employed by the bygone

24+

-N[Nr'no K. H, EccBnr

Anthropos 72.1977

A classical statement of this kind is provided by


WerrBn Tvron in his "A Study of Archeology":
He fthe archaeologist] should try to make his systematic creations (and his typologies are just that) conform to those of the former culture. How else can he hope to
understand it? Inherent in cultural products is the systematics of the people who propeople under investigation.

duced them... (Tavron 1968:I2B).

K. C. CseNe (1967a: 78), to cite but another example, has been similarly
explicit in this respect:
The "right" categories are those that reflect or approximate the natives' own
thinking about how their physical world is to be classified, consciously or unconsciously,
explicitly or implicitly, r.vithin which framework they accordingly act.

Obviously, Cuexcls notion of the relationship between "the natives' own


thinking" and their actual behavior is one-dimensional. It is his assumption
that the archaeologist "recognizes causal relations between cognition and
behavior and history of behavior" (Cuaxc 1967b:228) and this accounts for
the statement cited above. However, the character of the interrelationship
of cognition and behavior cannot be assumed beforehand - it is the outcome
rather than the basis of an inquiry. But whatever the individual reasons for
the view exemplified by the statements of Tevr,on and. Cn,A'\rc may be, these
reasons do possess a common denominator. It consists in a certain notion o
scientific methodology which I should like to label the fallcy of rnisconceiaed,
scientif,c rocedure. Essentially, this notion mistakes the means of scientiflc
research for its ends or, to put it another way, it overlooks one very
principle of that endeavor, namely the differentiation between
methods and aims.
One of the most fundamental conditions for the performing of scientiflc
research is the assumption that the explanatory value and power of science
is superior to any other epistemic system and that the latter can be analyzed
the former but not vice versa. It follows that, for example, a native people's
way of looking at and explaining their material and immaterial wolld can
subjected. to scientific inquiry. In order to do so, one has to choose
which meet the standards of anthropoiogy rather than the standards of
natives. That is not to say, however, that the categories in question must
be derived from a native context: as a matter of fact, categories of that
abound in anthropology, e. g., vna.ne, totem, tbu, etc. Actually, it does
matter at all from what context scientific categories in general stem
HntttpBl's statement that a hypothesis "may even have been suggested
a dream or a hallucination" (Hnuenr 1945: 6) is also valid with egard
categories. The important point is the conceptual reformulation which all
gories adopted from native sources or from those indicated by Hnupnrto undergo before they can be employed as means of scientific research.
But the delineation of a particular people's view of the world with
aid of such reconceptualized or especially contrived categories does not
that the scientif,c task is accomplished thereby. A further necessary step
to be taken which consists in a d.etailed analysis of the structure of

Prehistoric Archaeology and the Problem of

Ethno-Cognition

245

system under study, its internal and external relations, its conits function within the societ v I ts development OVEI time, etc. Again,
be achievecl by means of the nati VCS llt terpretation S, bu t
analysls cannot
framework
designed especially for that purpose.
a scientifi.c
v by
more
immediate concern, we may conclude that the
Returning to our
research have to be contrived lvithin a scientific frame
prehistoric
for
tegories
,Jf.r.n." according to the aims of the prehistorian; unmodified categories
as those once used by the prehistoric group under study - even if we
able to derive them from prehistoric remains - would not suit the pre's purpose (cf. Durvurw 7977: 134-135)

2. The Fallacy of the Misconceived Nature of Archaeological Data

Having discussed the assumption basic to all attempts of deriving ethnofrom archaeological remains, I shall now proceed r,vith a brief outline
characteristics of the respective data.
important
some
has argued that the difierence between archaeological,
Tevr.on
Wr,rBn
and ethnographical data "is merely one of degree, not of kind"
AyLoR 1968:94; see also p. 111). Such statements are liable to provoke
extensive argument as long as their respective key terms have not been defined.
lVhatever one's decision in this case may be, the difference between archaeand historical-ethnographical evidence is a very important one so
far as the problem with which I am dealing here is concerned.
Some clarifying remarks about my use of the terms rcheologic|, histor'ical, and ethnogrhicl d,t seem necessary. It should be stressed that the
follolving statements about the nature or properties of these three kinds of
tlata do not claim to encompass and to be valid for the whole range of sources
which are subsumed under these terms. The term archaeological data, for
example, is restricted here to evidence or rehistoric times. Reference to
historical and ethnographical data respectively is usually not specified with
regard to the particular part of those data for which the arguments r am
advancing hold.
If we are willing to neglect some peculiarities of both ethnogra phical and
da ta,
t heir respec ti VE manner o f transmission, not m uch

will Iemaln between t hese two classes of evidence. The ethnogra ph


t oday are t he historical da ta of tomorrow (.f SrunrnvANT
460) and historical evidence. IS e thnogra phical evidence anyway What
tmportant ln the presen t contex t IS also sh ared by
both classes of da ta of
parts thereof res
pectively) the poten tial of rendering ln, a rela ti vel v un
concealed OI a
t least deci phera ble way informatio n abou t mental charact erlstics, a rti tudes,
beliefs etc. of t hose, they directly and/ OI indirectly refer to
It is, of course the particular q uali
ty of language, OI rather writing, which
accoun ts for
this ca pacr ty t o be more specific
IS its conceptualizing power
I t Soes wit hout saylng tha t the outcome of ln t erpret ation IS dependen t
rn each
case on a vafle ty of factors, such AS scru tini ty of SO urce criticism,
ical da ta of

246

lI-.rNnrl I(. H. Eccnnr

nthropos 72.1977

quality and quantity of the respecti\/e clata, etc. All this, however, does e1
affect the indicated potential of (in the widest sense) documentary evidence.
The most salient characteristic of archaeological material in contradistinction to histolical-ethnogr:aphical data is its cornplete lack of immediate
conceptual information. It is often said that artifacts are "fossilized" or "5slidified ideas" (see, e. 9., DnETZ 7967:45; Cr-enxn 7968:20; Rousn 1970:9),
and one u'ould hardly argue r,vith this assertion. However, it should be stressed
that this property alone does not lead us very far: it is no more a part of
man-made objects than "being rational is part of being human" (Snrrrn 1971
173). That is to say, material forms which are not designed especially for
communicative purposes are too ambiguous to reflect in an unequivocal rvay
:

the ideas embodied ir them.


Certainly, some domains of the rnakers' and users' artifact-connected
thinking are more capable of being inferred from the artifacts than others.
Technological analysis, for example, might provide data concerning particular
prehistoric ideas as to details and peculiarities of manufacture, and analysis
of the contextual relationship of archaeological objects might yield information
about their intended use, etc.
It is also tlue that artifacts clisplay built-in stylistic regularities or, to
use InvtNG Rousn's term, "perceptual norms" (Rousn 7972: 165 Fig. 72;285).
And it is through these regular-ities, among other things, that we discriminaie
archaeological confi.gurations from each other. These perceptual norms may
be called emic, provided that one reduces KNNBrn PrxB's (1967) famous
distinction to the original conception oI honetic and l'toneucic in Bloomfi.eldian linguistics (Broourrnro 1933, esp. Ch. 5) by detaching it from its
cognitive implications (cf. Bunuwc 1969:98 note 3; LouNsnunv 1955) 1.
Nevertheless, the complex multi-relational context between artifacts and
their bygone makers and/or users, i. e., the total semantic sphere of artifacts,
cannot be reconstructed from these objects.
One may design numerous hypotheses as to ancient cognitive systems
and as many or more ways to operationalize them, but this will not solve
the basic problem. '|he Rosett Stone ol prehistoric archaeology is still missing
and one may well doubt that it can be found at all. It is exactly for this
reason that the designation of the method of prehistoric archaeology as "one
of successively nearer approximations" Tvr.on 1968: 109, 165; cf. also
Terron 1969:384; L972:28-29) seems to be a misnomer so far as the investigation of ancient cognition is concerned.
In concluding these remarks on the nature of archaeological and historical-ethnographical data I should like to summarize the difference by illustrating the range of the respective evidence.
According to a well-known division of historical sources proper which
createdby J G DnovsBN in his famous Vorleswngen 'i)ber Enzylrt'oiidia
'uvas
wnd. Method,ol,ogie der Geschichte (Dnovsnx sI967 : 37-B+) and refi.ned by EnnsT
I IRvTNG Rous originally clrew my attention to the pre-Prxr conceptiorr
phonetic/phonemic and its applicability in prehistoric archa"eology.

of

Prehistorlc

Archaeology and the Problem of Ethno-Cognition

247

data can be classified in berreste and Trd'ition,


(e14), historical
classes. Both may be subdivided. into written
but the two main
sources (see v. Bnnxlr l97l: 62-75). The basic difference
to their lnternal ch aTa"c"femalns and the tradition 1S due

the

was creat ed especially to provide knowledge on the then


the \a tt er
porarres and fu ture generations, wh ere AS the former yields
for con tem
unintentionall v In the ligh t of this ca t egolrza tion it becomes
the whole range of archaeological data encompasses only a rt

lhat

the whole range of his torical and for that matter ethnographto wit nonwrr tten rem alns I t 1S o bvio S, I think, t ha t t his
ln quanti ty en t ails restriction 1n q ualit v AS well
grounds that I cali t he atti tude behind demands such AS
IS on t h ese
should not consider tha t the limitations of their finds lmpose
tive strictures upon them any more than upon other students

class of

(r A YLOR

the fal,la.cy t the y,tisconceiued


tf archeol,ogicl' d,t for more recen t st atemen ts 1n the same veln AS
's see, e g BrN FORD 1 96 7 235 1 968a. 1 96Bb 13- T 4, 1 7 Fnnnmer.t
; LoNcecnn 1972:9)'
There remains yet another aspect of the nature of archaeological evidence
IS pertinent to our discussion. Since it is tied together with what might
the concet as. entity problem, it is best analyzed under the following
with past actualitY"

1 968

9+

3. The Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness


Evidently, the archaeologists' interest in prehistoric cognitive systems,
systems, and the like is strongly influenced by current cultural anthroIn order to learn more about the respective deficiencies of archaeologdata it is advisable to make some comments on the nature of ethnoas "revealed" by cognitive anthropologists.
The notion that cognitive systems are complex, but nevertheless well
and clear-cut wholes, in which all members of a given culture share,
one of the most fundamental misconceptions of the psychological
of so-called ethnowtod,el,s. Cultural anthropologists dealing with ethnousually seem to be aware of this pitfall, whereas prehistorians,
to "discover" ancient cognition, apparently are not.
For the Subanun of Mindanao, for example, CHenr.ns F'RAKE (1964: 119)
pointed out that they do not possess a consistently defined and shared
theon:
The verbal expositions of this pantheon vary greatly from informant to informant
from region to region. To present any one of these systems in all of its detail as
"the Subanun pantheon" would do violence to cultural reality.

Jaruns SpRtr.By (I972b: 255)

in Seattle, Wash., has made

in studying

it

sleeping behavior

of urban

very clear that his taxonomic as well

248

MNpnn K. H. Ecornr

Anthropos 72.1977

as his componential denition of the respective sleeping places is neither


exhaustive nor necessarily cognitively real.
Pnn Hecn, to cite but another example, after eliciting Munich beer categories, stresses that his informants' "cognitive map of the beer world" displays some degree of individual variation (Hecr 7972:269).
By these and corresponding examples it becomes very obvious that

cognitive systems as derived b)' cultural anthropologists are not cultural


entities but rather abstractions, concepts or, to put it even clearer, constructs
of the investigator. The opposite notion, no matter whether adhered to by
cultural anthropologists or prehistorians, may be subsumed under what A. N.
WHrrBnBr (7925: 74-82, 85) described as the fllcy of mistced, concyeteness.
An ethnographer, in fact, does not come upon a cognitive system while
he is in the field. He deals, however, with cognitive data, but on an individual
rather than on a "societal" level. They are, actually, more or less d.ifierent
views of the respective world of some individuals of the group the ethnographer is studying. These data do not lack systemic relations but as a rule
they are not presented as a system, at least not as one which would meet the
ethnographer's standards. It is he who generalizes and systematizes the d.ata
provided by his informants.
A consideration of this procedure with respect to prehistoric archaeology
reveals a difference between the source material of these two disciplines which
is highly significant. The archaeological evidence is not only lacking linguistic
information but, furthermore, usually cannot be differentiated according to
ind'iaid'wal ancient manufacturers and users of the respective remains (see, e. g.,

Nenn 1972). This being so, how is one going to infer prehistoric cognitive
systems when the only possibility by which this could be accomplished is not
open to analysis ?

4. The Fallacy of Mistaken Reality


one of the most striking points in the reasoning of prehistorians conwith the investigation of cognitive systems is their frequent use of
both the terms "artifi.cial" or "arbitrary classification" and "cultural" or
"historical reality". Whereas in cognition-related contexts the first designation
refers to a classification devised according to criteria altegedly chosen at
random by the investigator, the meaning of the second label is usually not
immediately clear. rlowever, a more closer look reveals that both terms are
related in their respective usage, namely in a dichotomous way.
The status of cultural reality is assigned to classifi.cations which are
believed to be non-artifrcial or non-arbitrary. Thus, the respective categories
are conceived of as "natural" units (e. g., Sraur,nruc 1954 392) and, by the
same token, in the ideal case, should correspond with the "mental templates"
and the "folk classication" of the people whose remains are und.er study'
Furthermore, these categories are considered axiomaticalty as "culturally" or
"historically meaningful", "signifi.cant", "relevant", and the like. Ar,sBRT
SraulntNc, for instance, states:
cerned

Prehistoric Archaeology and the Problem of

Ethno-Cognition

249

into types is a process of discovery of combinations of attibutes


,. classifrcation
of the artifacts not an arbitrary proced ure of the classifrer
mal<es
the
by
G L 953 43)
ULDIN
Historical relevance 1n this vlew 1S essen tially deri ved from the typological anal ysls
esta blished type TS the result of sound inferences concerning the customary
of the makers of the artifacts and cannot fail to have historical meanrng ,ibid 44

give another example, points out that


Janrs Dantz, to
... any multiattribute typological construct will probably be artificial and of a
low order of utility in cultural interpretation (Danrz 1968:37; but cf. his
inDlrrrz 7967: 5l-52)

The method outlined above also permits a more precise reconstruction of a given
in terms of the templates used in production. We can more closely approxithe significant construct as it existed in the mind of the maker, rather than derive
may well be a totally artifrcial device (Dorrz 1968: 39).

Although some consideration has already been devoted to the subject


g., Beyenn 1969: 380-382), the widely advocated concept of cultural or
reality needs still more elaboration. In trying to diminish this desidat least a little bit, I shall start by challenging the validity of the
ted dichotomy between so-called artificial or arbitrary and culturally
classifications.

Let me fi.rst state the truism that the categorization of archaeological


is an absolutely necessary prerequisite if one intends to acquire any
about the prehistoric past. The remains er se do not possess
signicance" or "historical meaning"; they are just emnants of
past. "Significance", "meaning" or "relevance", however, implies a relabetween the prehistoric data, the past, nd, the prehistorian. In apthe past he has to process the data in a waythat is directly related to
research objectives. With disparaging implications the term "arbitrary"
only be applied to classifi.cation when aimed at procedural deficiencies,
as logical inconsistency caused by the unaware classifier.
A "culturally real" classification, on the other hand, as believed to be
in a folk taxonomy, is evidently derived by the same "artifi.cial"
as its alleged counterpart, namely scientic principles of investigation
interpretation. Structurally, however, they are veryheterogeneous. whereas
classifi.cation SCTVES AS a lnean,s to an end, a sclen tificall derived
v
classi.ca tion constitu tes an end, (w hich of course, should then be pro bitself) but NCVEI a li teral means,
a means 1n the SENSE o scientic
proper
lrrespective

of the

arguments concerning

the feasibility of deriving

systems from archaeological data put forward so far, it seems ad.ble to make some further comments as to
the general aspects of the problem

reality To say that the delineation


of a certain folk view, adhered_ to at a
pornt 1n time by the grou p studied, consti tutes an
end of scientic
by no means implies tha t it IS the end Folk VlCWS, AS it has alread
v
indicated a bove, are itself sub
ected to sclen tific lnqulry after ha vrng
delinea ted wh a t I call the
f1,1,cy o.f rnsth,en reloty has h ampered an
understanding of these problems so far

250

NI.q.Nrno

K. H. Eccrnr

ALrthropos 72.

1977

This fallacy essentially consists in equating the so-called cultural reality


might better be labeled culturally (or, as for that, socially) d'efi,ned,
which
leality or, more precisely, "folk reality" - with historical reality in the widest
sense. The latter is, to be sure, culturally or socially dened as well (by historians
and prehistorians respectively), but according to systematically employed
principles which are accepted as the only means qualified to generate knou'ledge in terms of scientif,c standards. Historical reality, then, belongs to r.r,hat
might be called "scientific reality" (or "scientifically defined reality"). An
anthropologist, that is to,say, can investigate folk reality, but he cannot share
in it himself (if he were able to do so at ail) without giving up his scientifrc
aims (see in this context, for example, the problem of "going native" as a
participant observer: P.A,ur 1953; for Western societies: Mrr.r.Bn 7952).
Finally, it should be noted that folk reality and scientifrc reality are
lelated in a peculiar way: The folk conception of reality, though this "reality"
may, according to our criteria, be fictitious, influences the thinking andior
behavior of the group which is holding it. Therewith, the folk reality becomes
effective toward creating phenomena which are to be analyzed both in terms
of scientific reality and in terms of their respective conceptualization by the
group in question. BnoxrslRw MAlrNowsxr's analysis of "Myth in Primitive
Psychology" provides a good example for this kind of interrelationship.
According to him,
... an intimate connection exists between the r'vord, the mythos, the sacred tales
of a tribe, on the one hand, and their ritual acts, their moral deeds, their social organization, and even their practical activities, on the other'(i\{,trrNowsxr 1926:96).
Myth as it exists in a savage cornmunity, that is, in its living primitive forrn, is
not merely a story told but a reality lived. ... it is a living reality, believed to have once
happenecl in primeval times, and continuing ever since to influence the world and
hunran destinies (ibid.: lO0).

It goes without saying that MrrNowsKl's analysis presupposes a scientific


conceptualization of the problems involved; actually, one can grasp it from
the wording of the quotation.
A good illustration of the common discrepancies between folk and scientific reality is provided by the respective conceptions of a given group's past.
As a rule, one can expect that the group's own conceptualization of its history, i. e., the folk history, does not correspond with the results gained by
a historical, i. e., scientifi.c, inquiry into that very past (for a summary of folk
conceptions of history see Scsott 1968).
A case in point is the concept of genealogy among the Tiv of {orthern
Nigeria as studied by Leune Boneuxatr (1952). For a Tiv, genealogies are of
great importance for almost every aspect of life. BoneNNeN (1952: 301) stresses
that
... to unclerstancl things Tiv one must l<now Tiv genealogies. By genealogical
reference a Tiv traces ties of kinship and marriage, claims a place bo live and fatm'
argues his case in a moot, conducts nattes of magic and ritual, and decides against whofl
hc rvill figlrt on any given occasion.

Prehistoric Archaeology and the Problem of Ethno-Cognition

25r

Consequently, one would expect that Tiv tradition concerning genealogies

ErouPS

involved'

it perfectly clear that Tiv criteria of genealogical


least
compatible rvith the principles a historian would
truth are not in the
apply to the same matter.
The Tiv case is also important in quite another respect. It demonstrates
-of
certain phenomena does not necessarily
that the folk conceptualization
related to these phenomena. Hence,
impact
on
behavior
have an immediate
generally
be ascribed explanatory power as to
a cognitive concept cannot
2.
On the other hand, folk conceptions may have an effect
associated behavior
of a far more general and indirect order, which is neither intended nor recognized by the people themselves. In the Tiv case, for example, it might well
lie along the lines of Lune BonewNerq's speculation that the maintenance
of lineage systems possibly demands a fluid genealogical charter (BoneNNaN
7952:3I4; but cf. LBwrs 1962).
It may be safe to say, furthermore, that indirect functions of this kind
which, following RosBnr MBnroN (1949), are adequately designed as "latent
functions", do operate on a much broader scale than usually, if at all, assumed.
This means that the respective cognitive systems as generalized and delineated
by the anthropologist, cannot - organized no matter how - er se serve as an
explanatory device for related behavior. The investigation of latent functions,
certainly, has to be based on criteria rvhich virtually exceed the realm of folk
cognition. This outcome obviously stands in marked contrast to notions of
a one-dimensional relationship between cognition and behavior as expressed
in the above mentioned. conception of Cneuc (see p.244).
In summary, then, it may be said that folk reality, be it ancient or contemporary, could not and. cannot substitute for a thorough anaiysis of what
ts labeled here scientic reality. It is only through the latter
- supplemented
in cultural anthropolog y by a scientific analysis of the folk reality involved
rn the case under study
- that we can hope to adequately understand the
Bou,NNAN makes

2 The
concept

of explanation used. in this paper embraces causal as well as modal

2s2

Menpnpo K. H. Econr

Anthropos 72.1977

In this perspective, the general lesson to s


drawn with respect to the viewpoint exemplified. above by statements of
SpaurorNc andDnrz is obvious: this viewpoint is based on a misconception
of reality in mistaking folk reality for scientific reality.
phenomena we are interested in.

5. Conclusion

In the foregoing discussion differently structured evidence has been adfutitity of transplanting the search for ethno-cognition into

duced to show the

prehistoric archaeology. Part of that evidence was of a general methodological


nature, part of it was derived from a comparison of archaeological and historical-ethnographical data and still another part stemmed mainly from a brief
analysis of some of the implications of cognitive anthropology. The outcome
in each and every case has been detrimental with regard to the development
of appropriate methods for deriving substantive cognitive information from
archaeological data.
It is obvious that the whole problem as such has slipped into prehistoric
archaeology by way of a constant drive on the part of not a few prhistorians
to try to be what they definitely are not: cultural anthropologists. Considering
this, r could easily have added a fifth fallacy, namely the
faltcy of rehistoric
a'rcheology s cwl,twr|, nthrool,ogy. But because this fallacy would have concerned only the general setting, rather than the problem itself as analyzed
here, it seemed more appropriate to deal with it separately (see Eccnnr 1976).

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