Evaluation of Archaeological Sourcing Techniques: Reconsidering and Re-Deriving Hughes' Four-Fold Assessment Scheme

Ellery Frahm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

As new analytical techniques are brought to sourcing studies and researchers compile data into multi-laboratory databases, systematic evaluation is essential. The importance of precision and accuracy is clear, but Shackley (2005) also calls for "archaeological accuracy." Hughes (1998) offered a framework to consider precision and accuracy alongside the concepts of reliability and validity. These four concepts can serve as a foundation to evaluate archaeological sourcing data and procedures, but adoption of Hughes' framework has been nearly nonexistent. Unfortunately, Hughes' formulations of reliability and validity are somewhat at odds with their conventional definitions, hindering his framework. Furthermore, the concept of precision has become outdated in analytical circles, and superfluous terms (e.g., replicability) have emerged in the archaeological literature. Here I consider the basis of Hughes' framework and how its four components, when applied consistently by the sourcing community, are best applied to evaluate analytical data and techniques for sourcing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-174
Number of pages9
JournalGeoarchaeology
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012

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