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Semiotics and Archeology - Essay Example

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Instructor: Semiotics and archeology Semiotics is the study of the capability that human beings have to understand different signs as well as come up with signs. These signs include ideas, images, and sounds that occur in the process of communication…
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Semiotics and Archeology Essay
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Semiotics and Archeology

Download file to see previous pages... It then goes ahead to systemize the signs and phenomena into different theories and models, and this is known as theoretic semiotics and finally tries to apply the knowledge gained to find practical solutions which is known as applied semiotics. The study of semiotics can therefore be applied in many contexts, one of which being in archeology. Archeology can be understood to be a science that carries out attempts to understand the past through the use of the physical evidence that is available. This evidence may include written material as well as other symbolic artifacts. In their work, it is important for archeologists to have an understanding of different symbolic behaviors and the different symbols that they come across in their work. According to Preucel (8) the field of semiotics has undergone a transformation in the recent past. This transformation means that semiotics has changed its traditional focus which was studying sign systems and classifying the signs to include the study of how these signs are produced and their meanings as they occur in a social context. The basic premise in semiotics is therefore that meaning can only be derived from the social context in which the symbols or interactions are occurring. This has become important in the application of semiotics to archeology as the different signs or symbols that are to be found within the archeological exploration and process. The knowledge of symbols, signs, codes, and cons can therefore be applied in archeology. The understanding of the arrangement or organization if the material objects that are found into codes to give them meaning is therefore an important process. It is important to realize that unlike in the linguistic sentences the interpretation of material culture is a more complex process. As such, there is need for archeologists to come up with a system that effectively structures and interprets the different aspects of material culture. This marks an important aspect of the relationship between semiotics and archeology. The relationship between semiotics and archeology is said to have begun in the 1960’s when the linguistic model was first applied to studying archeological data. This was however only applicable to the study of Paleolithic and historical archeology and was therefore limited in its scope and area of study. The introduction of a theoretical framework for the combination of linguistic structuralism and processual archeology by Ian Hodder however marked the beginning of a more formal and reliable use of semiotics in linguistic interpretation. The importance of semiotics in the study of archeology was emphasized by the fact that it is impossible for the material culture to produce meaning without the consideration of the context of this culture. In the understanding of the role that is played by semiotics in archeology, it is important that the concept of structuralism is explained. Structuralism refers to the approach that considers the world to consist of structures that ate composed of different single entities that are mutually dependent. The understanding of these structures is important to the study of archeology, and semiotics is important in the study of these structures, the analysis of the structures and the systemization of the structures to help in the creation of meaning. The knowledge about symbols and structure has played an important role to semiotic and structural analysts as they attempt to understand the layouts of different ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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