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The article examines the practice of interaction between archaeology and natural sciences. The aim of the study is to determine the part and place of new methods in the practice of archaeological research, their infl uence on the scale, topic and nature of the procedure in the process of studying mobility and migration. To assess the dynamics of new methods introduction Gartner’s “hype curve” was used. The Southern Urals region in the Bronze Age period was chosen as the base territory, because of it became the testing ground for the widespread use of various methods, starting since the 1960s. The history of the application of methods in the study of paleometallurgy, radiocarbon chronology, paleo-DNA and strontium isotopes analysis are analyzed as cases. For all these cases, the dynamics fi t into the logic described by the curve - from a technological trigger to the peak of infl ated expectations through the stage of disappointment and gradual enlightenment to the “productivity plateau”. The tendency to the accelerated passage of these stages and the emergence of sustainable use is traced. The last presupposes clear understanding of the boundaries of the cognitive capabilities for the method. Regional studies confi rm the thesis about the inevitability of using natural scientifi c methods in the study of a number of topics (migration, mobility, long-distance communications, etc.) The expansion of new methods infl uenced the topic and territorial coverage of archaeological works: it became possible to bring forth and solve previously inaccessible problems; the scale of most research decreased (up to a single monument or category of artifacts). The emergence of new methods modifi es the procedure for part of archaeological research, bringing it closer in some aspects to natural science. Nevertheless, the complete replacement of the humanitarian component of archaeology is hardly realistic, since human activity is not rigidly determined, and the revealed correlations and patterns are inevitably statistical in nature.


Archaeology, technological innovations, methodology, South Urals, Bronze Age, mobility.

Andrey V. Epimakhov

Institute of History and Archaeology of the UB RAS, Yekaterinburg, Russia

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