In November of 1966, at a symposium held in Pittsburgh, the most vital component of those who had recently started calling themselves New Archaeologists met to discuss the complex and ambitious theme of “Social Dimensions of Mortuary Practices” and to define a shared strategy for its proportioning, according to what was the hypothetical-deductive practice at time taken by those who aspired to pursue a processual approach in archeology.
In little less than half a century away from that important occasion of discussion it seemed appropriate to reflect and compare with a constructive verification (and without schematic preconceptions) how much of interpretative paradigms have survived until nowadays, as well as methodologies and heuristic desires of processual positivism about issues related to the sociological interpretation of funerary practices.
With these objectives, the discussion, in addition to reconsider the findings from previous sessions, will be compared with the broader issue of the dialectic between isomorphism and ideological distortion in the funerary projection of a social dimension of a single individual and/or community he belongs to.
The debate will focus on the effectiveness or limitations of various heuristic strategies (paleodemography, analysis of grave goods, evaluation of rarity index, determining the funerary variability, set-theoretical-combinatorial approach, determining the funerary complexity, etc. etc.). put in place time after time in the sociological survey and, consequently, also in the historical and anthropological surveys about necropolis.
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