Skip to main content

Scientia, Society and Polydactyl Knowledge: Archaeology as a creative science.

Darvill, T., 2015. Scientia, Society and Polydactyl Knowledge: Archaeology as a creative science. In: Kristiansen, K., Šmejda, L. and Turek, J., eds. Paradigm found. Archaeological theory – Present, Past and Future. Essays in Honour of Evžen Neustrupný. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 6 - 23.

Full text available as:

Darvill Chapter 02.pdf - Published Version



The epistemic basis of knowledge creation has long been a subject of interest in archaeology and one that Evžen Neustupný has contributed to through his award-winning essay ‘Whither archaeology?’ and his book Archaeological Method with their central concern for theory, methods, and the validation of knowledge. Tensions between the epistemologies of east and west, and between sciences and the humanities, have been well to the fore in much of this and remain at the core of many wider debates within archaeology. But there is a bigger picture, and one that also has importance in theoretical, practical, and professional terms. Taking one step back from the epistemology of knowledge creation, this paper considers a broader ontology of knowledge, providing an excursion into the metaphysical nature of archaeological knowledge, its constitution, and its application in contemporary society. It is suggested that archaeology is essentially a creative science, and that on an international compass embraces many different but connected kinds of knowledge. Like the fingers on a hand, the separate digits of polydactyl knowledge are of equal value and interest albeit prioritized in different ways by different societies and subcultures.

Item Type:Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords:Scientia ; Ontology ; Epistemology ; Archaeology ; Archaeological theory ; Knowledge building ; Knowledge creation
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:21763
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:16 Mar 2015 12:46
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 13:50


Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...
Repository Staff Only -