By Daniel T. Potts, Hassan Al Naboodah, Peter Hellyer

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He questioned whether “the division within linguistics of syntax, semantics and pragmatics, which is in any case hard to maintain, would be at all plausible in the study of material forms, and the actual use of any such ‘grammar’ would probably be limited in archaeology and social anthropology to the study of formal systems such as designs” (Miller 1982:21). He then critiqued functionalism arguing that function is not absolute, but rather reflects conventional needs and desires. Here he employs Saussure’s langue and parole distinction and argues that while the rules of structural generation are subject to generalization, the specific results of productive activity are not.

1995). Over 140 archaeologists from Britain, United States, Europe, Africa, India, Japan, and Australasia attended for the three days of meetings. Among the topics discussed was the applicability of the text idea for archaeology. Buchli (1995:183) raised a series of questions – does it refer to a semiotic system (Saussure), a structuralist system (Lévi-Strauss), a hermeneutic system (Gadamer and Ricoeur), or something else? Is text best conceived as a metaphor or an analogy? Criado (1995) critiqued the text metaphor in favor of a visual one characterized by strategies to inhibit, hide, exhibit, and monumentalize.

He divides the field into two parts. The first part, and the most essential one according to Saussure, is language itself, which is a collective phenomenon. “Language exists in the form of a sum of impressions deposited in the brain of each member of the community, almost like a dictionary of which identical copies have been distributed to each individual” (Saussure 1966:19). It exists in a realm that is beyond the ability of any one individual to effect change. This is what he calls the language system.

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