A Further Criticism of the Type-Variety System: The Data can't Be Used

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12 Scopus citations


The type-variety system of ceramic classification has been criticized on a number of theoretical points concerning typology in general; yet it remains very popular among archaeologists. This paper adds a methodological criticism to the debate: ceramic data presented according to the highest standards of type-variety analysis simply cannot be used for independent reanalysis. An attempt to reanalyze some data presented according to the type-variety system [Formative period ceramics from the site of Barton Ramie, Belize] is described, and shortcomings of type-variety data presentation are pointed out. These findings are in direct opposition to claims made by type-variety practitioners as to the adequacy of their format of ceramic description and illustration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)822-826
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Antiquity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Museology


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