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Other name (s) Course Archeology Mid-term Paper Q4. What do you understand by the concept of “uniformitarianism” and discuss other ways of conceptualising the past. Introduction The concept of Uniformitarianism generally refers to the supposition that same ordinary laws and developments that operate in the universe today had existed in the past and will continue to exist in the future…
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Download file to see previous pages This way of conceptualization of the past is has increasingly been used in a number of field sciences such as geology and biology. In archaeology, uniformitarianism is one of the major concepts that have always been widely used to conceptualize the past. For example, many archaeologists believe that the contemporary natural laws and other processes in the universe have always operated in the past as they are today. Uniformitarianism is a theory on the gentle, natural progressions that were experimental on the landscape. It suggested that ice could corrode rocks and sediments as well could accrue and form various new terrestrial land forms in the earth (David, 341). Consequently uniformitarianism is currently widely used as the key principle in a number of fields of sciences such as geology and archaeology. The other ways that have widely been used to conceptualize the past include catostrophism, transmutation and gradualism. Tthe concept of gradualism as used in archaeology is based on the theory that gradual changes occur over time. The theory of uniformitarianism particularly suggested that landscape development occurred over long periods of time as a result of a number of gradual geomorphic and geologic processes. It shows that the present is the key to the past and it was a direct denunciation to the predominant philosophy of the time, catastrophism which held that only violent adversities could adjust the outward of the world. Generally the concepts of uniformitarianism, gradualism, and catostrophism among others have widely been used not only to conceptualize the past but also to help understand the important geological processes that have occurred in the universe and how such processes have influenced events (Baker, 243). Time plays a significant role in all the three concepts and archaeologists have discovered a number of pieces of evidence to support some of these ideas and concepts. How uniformitarianism is used in the conceptualization of the past Geologists, Historians and archaeologists often study the remains of the past gologic activity as well as the records of the ancient human civilizations to provide evidence of the specific time and of such activities in history. The concept of uniformitarianism has been widely used by scientists not only to help in the reconstruction of the history of the earth but also to create a timeline of events throughout the history. According to Browman and Douglas (88), black rocks with porous surfaces can be used by geologists as an evidence of the past events. It is however worth noticing that although the idea that there are uniform laws governing the processes of nature, it is often difficult to prove beyond uncertainty what actually took place in the past. In archaeology, the concept of uniformitarianism is rather a process of making an educated guess based on objective and observational evidence found in the material remains. Today, many archaeologists suggest the continuing uniformity of the universal processes can be used as a framework to understand how landforms and some aspects of nature come to be. This is particularly based on the assumption that the processes currently taking place are the same processes that actually took ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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