Archaeological theory takes interesting remains from the past, such as Stone Henge or the Tomb of Tutankhamen, and covers them in what is known as a 'cloud of theory', making them almost impossible to see. This is designed to increase public interest in archaeology and justify the spending it incurs.
Archaeological Theory in the twenty-first century: an archaeoindelible approachEdit
Archaeological theory was accidentally released in 1963. Before then, archaeologists had played with old things and said whatever they felt like saying about them. Now they were able to play with old things and say whatever they felt like saying about them in seven-syllable invented words (which must contain one of the following: 'archaeo', 'scape' or 'hodder'). This was a big advance in archaeology because specialists known as theoretical archaeologists or archaeological theorists were now needed to interpret all the seven-syllable words for the people who were just in it 'to dig shit up and dress like Indiana Jones'.
A theoretical archaeologist is one who exists only in theory, requiring further constructs in order to bridge gap between theory and reality. Because these constructs, however, are theoretical in themselves this is rarely achieved. Despite this a number of theoretical archaeologists are usually included in university payrolls.
Archaeological theorists, on the other hand, are theoretically archaeologists. Archaeological theorists don't generally know how they got into either archaeology or theory and they have no idea of how to get out of either.
Material culture in end-time: a hoddergodillogical approachEdit
Archaeological theory will eventually replace the need to study the material remains of the past. Adherents refer to this time as 'the rapture'. When it occurs, all evidence of past human activity will be instantly transported into outer space, leaving archaeologists free to write limitless articles entitled under the following structure: '[subject] in [place or time]: a [made-up word] approach'.
The above view is contested by a small minority of archaeologists, most of whom follow the teachings of 'Science' (which replaced 'God', the previous deity, in a pre-arranged handover in 1765). Although Science does not choose to answer the prayers of archaeologists, they have faith that one day it will reward them for all the money and effort put into destroying material culture (which they achieve through a carefully balanced combination of excavation and physical analysis).
How things rot in Middle-Range Theory: An Archaeodrivelistic Approach to ContextEdit
After developing the "Three Ages" of archaeology, it was realized that after the stone age, bronze age, and iron age, there were a lot of more recent societies that contained other artifacts. Thus were developed the six age theory, which included the "Wood age," "Cloth age," and "Food that hasn't yet rotted" age.
About 200 years later, the "new archaeology" movement realized that decay occurs in a fairly chronological order. First, food rots, then clothing rots. Then wood rots. Finally iron and bronze rust. The science of "Taphony" was then developed, and it was hypothesized, though never quite proven, that older cultures might have had a material culture which included food, clothing, wood, iron, and possibly even bronze all the way back to the early stone ages. This theory was hotly contested by a few backwards scholars who refused to accept the veracity of Atlantis, Mu, and Lemuria, but it is still widely considered to be a viable theory, and is often taught in a somewhat modified form even today.
This concept of Taphonomy has led some to suggest the bold possibility that the identified remains of the past may represent only a fraction of the former number of artifacts actually used when the past was still modern time. The rest apparently rotted away, or rusted out. What crazy ideas people had in the sixties! And they say that weed and acid have gotten stronger these days.
Despite the unlikelihood of the "tahponomy" theory, A middle range theory was suggested to help explain this process of decay in better terms, and an international team is being assembled to bridge the theoretical idea of taphonomy with actual archaeological findings. So far, despite involving more theoretical archaeologists than Project Steve, the gap between the theory of taphonomy, and the practice of excavation has not yet been bridged.
The technique of "Flotation" was also proposed as a way to identify traces of these decayed portions of the archaeological record in the dirt. While this has been successful in obtaining more archaeological data for certain purposes, it has also failed entirely to connect with the theory of taphonomy. Perhaps sixty more years of theoretical research will be able to finally bridge the middle range theory gap which separates taphonomy from archaeology
Truth and not-truth in the grand arena: a partlyundigestedscape approachEdit
Although there are many debates within archaeological theory, theorists have united as one to aptly demonstrate that archaeological theory is not true. This derives from logical reasoning: all archaeologists not studying or sleeping under you are labouring under a different and therefore incorrect paradigm. As people are only studying or sleeping under you for personal gain they will eventually leave and therefore be labouring under a new paradigm and/or professor so that no paradigm can last long enough or involve enough individuals to be considered a paradigm. A paradigm shift is generally agreed to be the result of eating too much the night before.
Although archaeological theory is not true, archaeological theorists are necessary in order to demonstrate that it is not true, as only archaeological theorists can understand archaeological theory.
Anthropologists and shitters of bull in a convention center: A postprocessuralistic Dynamic.Edit
The real reason for archaeological theory is that theoretical archaeologists do not have to excavate. This opened the field to all kinds of anthropologists who would otherwise have been studying living people, and then discussing those living people in their own conventions. Anthropologists hate their conventions because of all the mumbo-jumbo, and the fact that anyone who wants to discredit them can go to the living people who were studied, and present their own paper. In an effort to get published, earn money, and have cooler conventions, the anthopologists donned leather jackets and Fedoras, and crashed the archaeology parties under the guise of "Theoretical archaeology." Soon, they were presenting their own papers, in their own peculiar style. This cause a few bar fights... well... it caused a few archaeologists to go to the bars early and get in more fights than usual.
Queer theory in ivory towers, in fresh cesspits: a post-processuralist approach to kinkEdit
Gender studies in the last half of the twentieth century provided a wealth of information on nasty sexual practices, and new ideas on gender. Unfortunately, a lot of it was politically charged, and very rarely do both partners in a sexual act die and get preserved simultaneously.
With a scarcity of proof that any freaky stuff went down before the Victorian era, and political motives, all sorts of dead people were labeled gay in an effort to de-closetize the world. Some of this was a remarkable success, but in other cases, the effort backfired dramatically, and charges of anti-homophobia, reverse sexism, and reverse misogyny (or Androgyny, to be more technically correct) were leveled at those homo-anthropologists. This shut them up for a bit, which was quite a shame, since they were the only ones with any good jokes or fashion sense.
At the dawn of the 21st century though, gender studies co-opted gay and lesbian studies to create queer theory. Queer theory was such a hit with the anthropologists that it went mainstream, and was finally introduced to even those dirty backward archaeologists. It was assumed that there would be a lot of resistance to queer theory from this corner, since the majority of tenured archaeologists where sexist white men. However, at this point, queer theory had come to encompass anything at all which sought to combat normative codes of conduct and ideas. queer theory had also developed the technique of "Queerying" a topic, whereby sexist sounding jargon was put in quotation marks, and it was then explained why the phrases were problematic.
The sexist white men soon realized that since queer theory refused to define itself in any way, they could in fact write their own "queer" theory papers simply by putting quotation marks around various "big" words, thereby "penetrating" the murky waters of theoretical scholarship that had until then been "virgin" territory for their "probing" "intellects." Very soon, in an effort to "Explore" areas that had previously been "off limits" to their "Curiosity," they were writing their own "Queer" theory papers in this style. It was all quite splendid, because now, when their peer reviewers gave them dirty looks and said "This isn't a paper, it's just a fat load of dick jokes!" They could reply "Yes, but it's a queer study, so blow me!" This led to a great deal of publication, and a great deal of "white out" getting spilled on the "student body" in "Faculty chambers."
It is quite likely that the exciting new field of queer study has barely begun to be fully "explored" by these brave "Adventurers" in their sturdy "Pith helmets." Whether this will prove to be a "fertile" area to study, or if it is entirely "Sterile" of data potential has yet to be determined.