Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Beyond the "Fringe Archaeology" — part twenty: conclusion

James Gillray, L'Insurrection de l'Institut Amphibie – The Pursuit of Knowledge, tinted etching, 1799
Regardless of all instruction and care, the subject can still bite.
I did not have any sort of outline for this series and some mornings I sat down to write without even an idea for the subject matter of the episode. Somehow, though, I managed to voice most of my concerns regarding archaeological interpretation and presentation.

Modern physics says that the experimenter cannot avoid being part of the experiment, so while we might think that we are always looking outward at any archaeological evidence, the final product will contain influences from our own unconscious mind. We can lessen this effect by understanding the sort of influences that can colour our ideas. For this, we have to understand ourselves as much as the evidence before us.

Max Planck sums it up nicely:
"Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve."

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