Times they are a-changin': A response to Magli and Belmonte
Authors: Darvill, T.
Debates about archaeological interpretation are always healthy and welcome, and when, as here, arguments are not killed off, they inevitably become stronger. Importantly, the comments by Magli and Belmonte (2023) serve as a reminder that reconciling conflicting theoretical perspectives is never easy when times are changing. Grounded in positivism, their critique draws upon assumptions that become justificatory assertions. For better or worse, archaeological thinking has moved away from the processualism of the late 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s - a key turning point being Hodder's (1984) review of positivism in archaeological interpretation and his call for more contextualised approaches. The authors might usefully have consulted this and other works before setting out onto the choppy waters of post-processual archaeology. Many of their points simply escalate questions posed in my original text (Darvill 2022), and they often fail to distinguish between suggestions, arguments and more solid interpretative statements. Notwithstanding, they neatly arrange their response around three issues that are here addressed seriatim.