Institute of Archaeology


Michael D'Aprix

Archaeological Theory, Philosophy and Scientific Methodology


Email: michael.d'aprix.15@ucl.ac.uk

Section: Archaeological Sciences



The discipline of archaeology has come to a point where archaeological theory has an opportunity to escape the cyclical and never-ending argument of the processual-post-processual debates of the mid-20th century.  Archaeology has fallen behind, philosophically, theoretically and practically, and it is falling behind scientifically in a world that is quickly advancing in technological terms and is investing more heavily in disciplines that bring with them the perceived trust of science.  The polemical debates of the mid-20th century have shaped archaeological theory and continue to shape the way archaeologists perceive the discipline, particularly the use of a scientific method within the discipline. 

This thesis will be an attempt to move away from issues created in the mid-20th century debates and develop foundational elements necessary for archaeology to be more statically defined as a scientific discipline, not by adopting other disciplines' themes, thoughts, and theories but instead by creating an archaeological scientific method.  The thesis will look first at the current state of the philosophy of science and how it relates to archaeology.  Then the thesis will explore the seven components necessary for an archaeological scientific method.  One of the major goals of these thesis is to better understand the recalcitrant problems within the discipline and explore, through case studies and disciplinary benchmarks, how developing an archaeological scientific method will seek to lessen those issues. 

The goal of this dissertation is to begin a discussion within the field of archaeology about the need for developing standards of scientific method. 


    • BA, Mediterranean Archaeology and Art, Dickinson College 2014
    • MSc, Geographic Information Science, UCL Geomatic Engineering, 2016
    • MA, Archaeology, UCL IoA, 2018