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Hardcover | $45.00 Short | £37.95 | 328 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 27 figures, 2 tables | July 2012 | ISBN: 9780262017688
eBook | $32.00 Short | July 2012 | ISBN: 9780262306195
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The Foundations of Cognitive Archaeology


In The Foundations of Cognitive Archaeology, Marc Abramiuk proposes a multidisciplinary basis for the study of the mind in the past, arguing that archaeology and the cognitive sciences have much to offer one another. Abramiuk draws on relevant topics from philosophy, biological anthropology, cognitive psychology, cognitive anthropology, and archaeology to establish theoretically founded and empirically substantiated principles of a discipline that integrates different approaches to mind-related archaeological research.

Abramiuk discusses the two ways that archaeologists have traditionally viewed the human mind: as a universal or as a relative interface with the environment. He argues that neither view by itself can satisfactorily serve as a basis for gleaning insight into all aspects of the mind in the past and, therefore, the mind is more appropriately studied using multiple approaches. He explains the rationale for using these approaches in mind-related archaeological research, reviewing the literature in both cognitive psychology and cognitive anthropology on human memory, perception, and reasoning. Drawing on archaeological and genetic evidence, Abramiuk investigates the evolution of the mind through the Upper Paleolithic era—when the ancient mind became functionally comparable to the modern human mind. Finally, Abramiuk offers a model for the establishment of a discipline dealing with the study of the mind in the past that integrates all the approaches discussed.

About the Author

Marc A. Abramiuk is an archaeologist who has worked in a variety of capacities, from Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology to cultural advisor and field research manager for the Department of the Army.


“Cognitive archaeology—sometimes called the archaeology of mind—is a fast-growing field. In The Foundations of Cognitive Archaeology Marc Abramiuk poses challenging questions about the prehistory of mind which are central to the understanding of what it is to be human.”
Colin Renfrew, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge
“Cognitive archaeology was born in the mid-nineties, and has grown into an exciting sub-discipline. Marc Abramiuk has written the first systematic text in this growing field. In it, he presents research and theory on human mental origins in a balanced cross-disciplinary framework. This is a much needed book; it is our good fortune that it is comprehensive and well written.”
Merlin Donald, Professor Emeritus, Queen's University; author of Origins of the Modern Mind: Three stages in the evolution of culture and cognition