DEL CASTILLO BERNAL MarÍa Florencia
capítulos de libros
Measuring, Counting and Explaining: An Introduction to Mathematics in Archaeology
BARCELÓ, JOAN ANTON; ACHINO, KATIA; BOGDANOVIC, IGOR; CAPUZZO, GIACOMO; DEL CASTILLO, FLORENCIA; MOITINHO DE ALMEIDA, VERA; NEGRE, JOAN
Mathematics and Archaeologists
Tylor and Frances Group
Año: 2015; p. 3 - 64
?What is archaeology about?? asks the professional mathematician shocked by the use of numbers, functions, equations, probabilities, set-theoretic propositions and the like by archaeologists. The answer is pretty simple. ?Archaeology is what archaeologists do? (Gardin 1980). We excavate and fi nd stones, pottery sherds, animal and human bones, the remains of ancient buildings, what our ancestors made and discarded at some time, etc. These are our objects of study, but not our objective. The goal of archaeology is to describe the past, that is to say, to fi nd out what people did some time ago and why. Then, where is the place for mathematics? Why a book with such an unusual title:?Mathematics and Archaeology?? Whenever we express an idea through order relations among its components, we are expressing it mathematically. The basic meaningful unit of this artifi cial language is the idea of quantity. More than a property or characteristic in itself, it is a kind of property: certain entities have ?quantities? of something. These are those properties of entities expressing a gradation or intensity. Therefore, quantities will be the opposite of qualities: those characteristic features that do not imply gradations, and cannot be expressed in terms of relations of order. Mathematics, as an artifi cial and formal language should be consideredas an attempt to make explicit and well-defi ned in formal terms the many current archaeological (subjective) implicit terms and concepts. Nicolucci, Hermon and Doerr clarify the archaeological concepts and terms that can be formalized, although they give no details about the way mathematics can be used to disambiguate the description of archaeological primary data, that is, archaeological observables.