The relationship between Archaeology and Social Anthropology – Essay

Archaeology is basically prehistoric. It is specific to time. Admit­tedly, it is related to social anthropology but what is social anthropology in Britain is in reality ethnology. It focuses on finding out the old culture by excavation. Discussing the relationship between archaeology and social anthropology or ethnology, Evans-Pritchard writes:

Prehistoric archaeology is best regarded as a branch of ethnology. It attempts to reconstruct the history of peoples and cultures from hu­man and cultural relations found by excavation in geological depos­its.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

It also relies on circumstantial evidence and, like ethnology, can tell social anthropologists little about the ideas and institutions, in which they would be interested, of the peoples whose bones and arti­facts it discovers and classifies.

What Evans-Pritchard has said boils down to the fact that archae­ology learns about the culture of people by excavating the artifacts, and social anthropology links these with the prevalent culture and tra­ditions of the primitive peoples?

There is, thus, a reciprocal relationship between these two disciplines. In fact, they are comple­mentary to one another.