Post Processual Archaeology

Post-processual archaeology or interpretative archaeology is a new form of archaeology that rose as opposed to new archaeology in the 1980s. This article is to discuss everything there is to know about it.

  • Introduction to post processual archaeology
  • Definition of post processual archaeology
  • History of Post-Processual Archaeology
  • Pioneers of post-processual archaeology
  • Key features of post-processual archaeology
  • Importance of post-processual archaeology
  • Case studies of post-processual archaeology
  • Post-processual archaeology vs processual archaeology (or new archaeology vs post processual archaeology)
  • Pros and cons of post-processual archaeology
  • Limitations and challenges in post-processual archaeology
  • The future of post-processual archaeology

Once you read this article, you will understand what post-processual archaeology is.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Post Processual Archaeology

What does post processual archaeology mean in archaeology?

First, we need to remember what archaeology is. Archaeology is the study of past human culture, behaviour, and cognition through material remains left from the past. But it was not always like that. Archaeology itself is a quest to uncover the past. In this pursuit, various versions of archaeology have risen and fallen. Each of those offered a unique lens through which to view the past. Among these versions post processual archaeology emerges as a different approach that challenges its former version, new archaeology, or processual archaeology. As you can see, that is why we call it post processual archaeology. Sometimes we call it interpretative archaeology as it is more inclined towards interpreting the past through material remains without stopping at mere descriptions of material remains.

Is post processual archaeology another type of archaeology?

Here, it is important to understand that post processual archaeology is not another type of archaeology. It is not a subdivision or subdiscipline such as environmental archaeology, prehistoric archaeology, or underwater archaeology. There subdisciplines are specialised in certain areas of archaeology. For instance, environmental archaeology is special for studying the environment and humans in the past. Prehistoric archaeology is special for studying the age prior to the earliest civilizations. Underwater archaeology is special for conducting archaeological studies in aquatic environments. As you can see, these ordinary types of archaeology are there to focus on certain areas of archaeology and study them deeper. But post-processual archaeology is not a type. Instead, it is a version.

If post processual archaeology is not a type, what is it?

Post processual archaeology is an approach in archaeology. It represents a change in archaeological thinking. Archaeological thinking is the theory on which archaeologists base their work. With this interpretative archaeology, archaeological thinking started to look at how people from the past saw and interacted with things. So, this is a way to interpret archaeological data.

Therefore, as I mentioned earlier, it is not another type or subdiscipline in archaeology. It is another way of connecting archaeological data in any of the types or subdisciplines of archaeology. It is a new version of archaeological theory with a new approach. You will understand this further as you become familiar with the definition of post processual archaeology that I have discussed below.

From which the post processual archaeology is influenced?

Additionally, post processual archaeology is influenced by structuralism, neo-Marxism, and phenomenology. And it has the characteristic of mixing different interpretations and ideas together to study the past beyond what we usually see from material remains. And this approach recognises that archaeological interpretations are not objective and universal truths but rather reflections of personal viewpoints and biases.

In summary, post processual archaeology goes beyond simply identifying and organising artefacts. It intends to reveal the layers of cultural value, individual and collective meanings, and social complexities that lie behind the material remains of the past. This viewpoint contributes to a better knowledge of how past societies lived, thought, and interacted.

Where did post-processual archaeology occur?

Post-processual archaeology emerged among the new generation of scholars in the United Kingdom. The new school questioned the old school and the old school defended the previous version, the new archaeology. So, the distant countries in the world that followed the United Kingdom in academia also got the influence of post-processual archaeology. In the recent past, many studies have covered areas that were introduced with post-processual archaeology, such as gender archaeology.

But on the other hand, the United States demonstrated rather coexisting approaches. Scholars applied the theories and methods in new archaeology as well as in post-processual archaeology accordingly. Nowadays, most of the time, what really happens in archaeology is something in between processual and post-processual approaches in archaeology.

Definition of Post Processual Archaeology

Post processual archaeology is a theoretical approach that emphasises the subjective and symbolic aspects of the archaeological record, focusing on understanding the cultural meanings, interpretations, and social dynamics of past societies.

Not so easy to understand? Let’s break it down into points.

Theoretical Approach means that post processual archaeology is not a methodological practice. It is rather a way of thinking about and interpreting archaeological findings. It’s a scope through which archaeologists analyse and understand the past.

Subjective and Symbolic Aspects refers to the recognition that past human societies left behind more than just physical artefacts; they filled these artefacts with symbolic meanings, cultural significance, and personal meanings that may not be instantly evident from a strictly materialistic perspective.

Archaeological Record refers to all the remains and traces of past human activity that archaeologists study, such as artefacts, structures, and other cultural and environmental evidence. In other words, the record of material remains from archaeological study is an archaeological record.

Cultural Meanings, Interpretations, and Social Dynamics: Post processual archaeology dives deeper into the cultural contexts of artefacts and sites. It tries to clarify the meanings and interpretations that these items carried for the people who used them. Also, the approach examines the changing factors in society such as social relationships, power structures, and changes that influenced how these artefacts were used and understood within their societies.

In simple terms, post processual archaeology is a way of studying the past through material remains left behind from the past, with a special focus on what those material remains meant to people in the past and how those material remains reveal how those societies functioned.

History of Post Processual Archaeology

Post processual archaeology emerged as a replacement for processual archaeology. The processual approach, which was popular in the 1960s and 1970s, promoted the application of the scientific method to archaeological study with the goal of revealing concrete information about past societies. Post-processualists, on the other hand, questioned this theory, recognising that archaeological interpretations are always impacted by cultural contexts, personal points of view, and individual beliefs. This understanding encouraged archaeologists such as Ian Hodder, Daniel Miller, and Christopher Tilley to reject processualism’s standardised characteristics and argue for a more diverse and contextual understanding of the past.

However, the roots of post processual archaeology are in twentieth-century intellectual currents. And it emerged as a distinct approach in the latter part of the twentieth century.

The seeds of this approach had already been planted decades before the phrase “post-processual archaeology” appeared in 1985. Archaeologists and anthropologists began to doubt the deterministic and scientific approach of processual archaeology in the early 1970s. The 1971 address by social anthropologist Edmund Leach was notable among these topics. Leach believed that cultural structuralism, a popular concept among social anthropologists, would soon find its way into archaeology.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, post processual archaeology gained popularity. The movement spread from its birthplace in the United Kingdom to the United States and abroad. Post-processualism coexisted alongside processual archaeology in the United States, providing for a more balanced and thorough approach to researching the past. The distinction between the two methods was more evident in the United Kingdom, with post-processualism standing in direct opposition to the processual mindset.

Pioneers of Post Processual Archaeology

Several archaeologists played important roles in the formation of post-processual archaeology. These pioneers challenged the processualism and extended the limits of archaeological research, contributing to its evolution.

Ian Hodder

Ian Hodder, who was a prominent archaeologist, was at the forefront of the post-processual movement. He himself transformed from a processualist to a post-processualist. In his early career, Hodder studied analysing trade patterns and urbanisation in ancient Britain, taking a processual approach. He even carried out his studies on the Turkish site, taking that scientific approach. Later, as he studied further, he questioned the ability to provide comprehensive understanding of past human of the study model he used. Hodder’s shift in perspective led him to doubt the assumption of objective findings, creating a new school of study. 

Christopher Tilley and Daniel Miller

Christopher Tilley and Daniel Miller joined Hodder to improve the post-processual approach further. Tilley studied the symbolic aspects of material culture. And Miller studied the function of culture and subjectivity. Both of their studies helped form the key principles of post-processual archaeology.

Peter Ucko

Peter Ucko bridged the gap between archaeology and anthropology. He emphasised the importance of cultural contexts and meanings in archaeological interpretation, utilising anthropological perspectives for inspiration. Ucko’s work paved the way for a deeper understanding of the past.

Key Features of Post Processual Archaeology

Post-processual archaeology has several key features that make it different from its predecessor, processual archaeology. These characteristics include its theoretical basis, methodological approaches, and overall philosophy. Let’s explore them one by one.

Focusing on Subjectivity and Interpretation

The main key feature of post-processual archaeology is the emphasis on recognising and accepting subjectivity in archaeological interpretation. In simple words, it showed that archaeological interpretations are unique to every single data record. The processual approach targeted objective findings using the scientific method. In simple words, processualists searched for results that can be used as universal truths and are applicable as laws to every piece of archaeological data. In contrast, the post-processual approach recognised and accepted the fact that personal opinions, cultural biases, and the impact of individual experiences affect the interpretations they make. This transformation in the perspective of archaeological interpretation rejects the idea of a single, universally acceptable storyline about the past that processual archaeology produces. Instead, it introduces the approach of studying different perspectives to deeply understand ancient human society.

Theoretical Pluralism and Hybridity

Theoretical Pluralism and Hybridity Post-processual archaeology rejects the idea of a singular theoretical basis. Instead, it values theoretical plurality and hybridity. Well In simple words, it rejects having a single theory apply to all archaeological data. And it values the use of many theories and mixtures of theories to apply archaeological data, as the post-processualists took other schools of social studies such as Marxism, phenomenology, structuralism, etc. into consideration. They believe that taking diverse theories into consideration when interpreting archaeological records can provide us with important insights into different areas of the record and thus expand our comprehension of the human past.

Focusing on Symbolism in Material Culture

Processual archaeology usually considers material culture as functional artefacts reflecting practical needs. Post-processualism, on the other hand, looks into the symbolic meanings buried in material remains. Post-processualists recognise that objects carry cultural meaning. They also recognise that objects have social, political, and ideological meanings. This transformation of the perspective of material remains resulted in taking artworks as symbols of past human cultural aspects such as beliefs, values, and identities rather than functional tools. This approximation displayed how an apparent ordinary item can reveal complex and important narratives of the past.

Use of Contextual and Reflexive Methodologies

Post-processual archaeology highlights contextual and reflective methodologies. Contextual analysis means looking at artefacts in their larger archaeological, cultural, and historical contexts. Post-processualists believe that understanding the context in which an item was used or created is essential for properly interpreting its meaning. Meanwhile, reflexivity refers to an archaeologist’s knowledge of their own biases and viewpoints when generating interpretations. This self-awareness promotes a more critical and honest involvement with the archaeological process. And that results in a deeper awareness of the complexity involved.

Attention on Individual Agency

The processual approach focuses on social structures and the determinism of the environment. That means it focuses on how societies are formed and how the environment impacts them universally. Post-processual archaeology, on the other hand, explores the role of individual power in shaping the past. According to post-processualists, individuals and groups make decisions and conduct actions that affect their lives and the material record. This perspective allows us to better understand the various ways in which people go through their social, political, and economic situations. It also challenges the concept of inactive individuals within deterministic frameworks. In simple words, it questions the idea of human beings not shaping their lives and living as passive players in the game of life.

In summary, post-processual archaeology focuses on the natural bias of each archaeological interpretation. And also, it values the application of multiple theories and mixed theories when interpreting archaeological data. And also, it considers the meanings that material remains, such as artefacts, carry in their original contexts rather than just being useful tools. Further, it indicates that understanding the context of an artefact helps to interpret it more accurately. Most importantly, post-processual archaeology recognises the ability that humans have as an intelligent species to shape their own culture rather than being controlled by the environment or a large social structure. Now you understand why it says “past human behaviour and past human cognition” in the definition of archaeology we studied earlier. Because, with post-Processaul archaeology, the ability the humans have to take decisions and communicate is studied.

In the next section, we will examine the importance of post-processual archaeology and how these key features have revolutionised our understanding of the past.

Importance of Post Processual Archaeology

Post-processual archaeology is important because of its revolutionary impact on the field of archaeology and its deep involvement in how we see and interpret the past. This change in thinking has redefined the role of archaeologists, the methodologies they employ, and the narratives they construct about past societies. So, post-processual archaeology is important, because it:

1. Establishes a Multidimensional Understanding of the Past

One of the most crucial contributions of post-processual archaeology is its focus on accepting various viewpoints and interpretations of the past. Unlike the processual approach, which attempted to find universal truths through scientific methods, post-processualism recognises that the past is a complex web woven from various threads of culture, ideology, and individual agency. Post-processual archaeology allows for a more complex and multifaceted understanding of ancient societies by admitting the biases that come with archaeological interpretations. This broader viewpoint expands our understanding of how people lived, engaged, and built their worldviews.

2. Empowers Marginalized Voices

Post-processual archaeology is also important for uplifting minority voices and narratives that have been traditionally ignored or suppressed. By accepting the cultural biases present in archaeological interpretations, post-processualism opens doors for historically marginalised groups, such as women, indigenous communities, and minority populations, to contribute their perspectives to the reconstruction of the past. This openness challenges the authority of imperial and male-dominated story lines. It also promotes a more equal and comprehensive representation of the past.

3. Focuses on Cultural Context and Meaning of Material Remains

Processual archaeology highlights functional explanations of material culture. Post-processual archaeology, on the other hand, dives into the symbolic and cultural meanings embedded in artefacts. This approach reveals the complicated weave of beliefs, rituals, and social practices that drove ancient societies. Post-processual archaeologists examine the cultural contexts in which artefacts were created and used. In doing so, they provide clarity on how material culture interacts with social identity, power relations, and belief systems. This deeper understanding expands our understanding of human behaviour and social institutions.

4. Challenges the Singular Narrative of Past

The acceptance of several interpretations in post-processual archaeology challenges the idea of a single narrative about the past. This approach resists the desire to generalise ancient societies and encourages the exploration of various points of view. Post-processual archaeology recognises that different people and groups experienced the past in different ways. With that acceptance, post-processualism resists the simplification of history and encourages a more complex and comprehensive representation of human experiences.

5. Inspires Methodological Innovation

The importance of post-processual archaeology also extends to inspiring methodological innovation within the discipline. The focus on reflective methodologies, contextual analysis, and the study of individual agency facilitated archaeologists conducting more critical and self-aware research. This increased understanding of the researcher’s role in shaping interpretations promotes transparency, encourages continuous questioning, and ultimately leads to more thorough and strong archaeological practice.

Examples of Post Processual Archaeology

As you now know what post-processual archaeology is, its definition, its key characteristics, and its importance, you can examine specific case studies. These will act as post-processual archaeology examples. These will show you how post-processual archaeology reveals hidden aspects of the past, provides space for marginalised narratives, and improves our understanding of ancient societies through diverse interpretations.

1. Social Complexity Studies at Çatalhöyük Excavations in Turkey

One interesting case study that shows the impact of post-processual archaeology is the excavation of Çatalhöyük, a Neolithic settlement in Turkey. Archaeologist Ian Hodder led the project, employing a post-processual approach to challenge the prevailing assumptions about the social organisation of the community. While earlier interpretations focused on the physical layout and economic features of the city, Hodder’s team pointed out the symbolic and ritual aspects of the site. They discovered a complex web of social interactions, religious systems, and gender roles through an extensive study of the wall paintings, burials, and figurines. This case study showed how accepting subjective interpretations might uncover layers of meaning that traditional archaeological methods may miss.

2. Studies that Considered Indigenous Narratives in North America

Post processual archaeology has also played a key role in giving voice to indigenous communities and their perspectives on the past. Archaeologists like Joe Watkins have worked with indigenous peoples in North America to bring their oral traditions and ancestral knowledge into archaeological research. By connecting with indigenous narratives, post processual archaeology has revealed alternative stories of ancient landscapes, migration patterns, and cultural practices. This approach not only improves archaeological understanding but also promotes the valuable cooperation and empowerment of indigenous communities in shaping their histories.

3. Gender Archaeological Studies at Mesoamerican Sites

Gender archaeology, a subfield within post processual archaeology, has significantly contributed to revealing the complex nature of gender roles in ancient societies. Archaeologist Saburo Sugiyama used a gender-conscious method to study burial practices and artistic representations at Mesoamerican sites such as Teotihuacan, Mexico. Sugiyama discovered the existence of high-status women who held important roles in religious and political arenas by investigating the spatial distribution of burials and the features of grave items. This case study shows how the emphasis on individual agency and cultural context in post processual archaeology reveals the diverse roles that individuals played in shaping historical changes.

However, it is important to understand that, apart from these cases, an enormous amount of archaeological research has been conducted and is being conducted following post-processualism.

Post Processual Archaeology vs Processual Archaeology

A key debate in archaeology is the distinction between post processual archaeology and its predecessor, processual archaeology. These two perspectives offer different approaches to understanding the past, each with its own set of ideas, methodologies, and theoretical foundations.

Similarities Between Post Processual Archaeology and Processual Archaeology

As you already know, post-processual archaeology and processual archaeology are different in their core values. However, there are some obvious similarities that should be noted.

Both perspectives are dedicated to the growth of archaeological knowledge. And they both want to uncover the hidden history of past human societies.

Both accept the value of scientific proof and analyses based on data in developing interpretations about the past.

Moreover, both perspectives recognise the complex nature of human societies as well as the deep relationships that exist between material culture and interactions among people.

Differences Between Post Processual Archaeology and Processual Archaeology

The main differences between post-processual and processual archaeology are in their approaches to interpretation, methodology, and the role of subjectivity in archaeological research. The remaining stages of the archaeological process, including exploration, excavation, and conservation, are similar.

Differences in Conclusions

Processual archaeology, rooted in positivism, points out the use of the scientific method in archaeological research. It aims to create universal principles and objective truths about human behaviour through extensive data gathering and hypothesis testing.

Post-processual archaeology, on the other hand, questions the idea of objective truth by pointing out the importance of cultural subjectivity, individual perspectives, and multiple interpretations. Post-processualists say that the past is essentially ambiguous and that multiple perspectives are valid. And they say that the ambiguous nature of the past and multiple perspectives improve our understanding of past human societies.

Differences in Methodology

Processual archaeology places extreme value on empirical data. So, it often uses quantitative analysis to find patterns and links within archaeological assemblages. It aims to discover general laws that control human behaviour and cultural change.

However, post-processual archaeology realises the limitations of entirely quantitative methods. As a result, it uses qualitative methodologies for studying the symbolic, ritualistic, and experiential aspects of the past. Also, post-processualists use reflexive methods, knowing their own role in developing interpretations.

Differences in the Approach to Study: Subjectivity vs Objectivity

The idea of subjectivity is perhaps the most important difference between processual and post-processual archaeology. Processual archaeology tries to minimise the influence of personal bias by looking for objectivity in interpretations.

Post-processual archaeology, on the other hand, accepts subjectivity as an essential component of archaeological study. It admits that cultural backgrounds, personal experiences, and social identities affect interpretations. Post-processualists argue that subjectivity can improve our understanding of the past rather than prevent or slow it down. They say that we can achieve that by recognising the various ways in which people perceive and interact with their world.

In comparing these two approaches, it’s important to understand that they are not incompatible. Both perspectives have offered important insights to the discipline, as seen in the development of archaeological theory. The focus on empirical study in processual archaeology has resulted in enormous knowledge about past societies, while post-processual archaeology has expanded this understanding by recognising the complexities of human experiences and the wide variety of interpretations.

Finally, the conflict between post-processual and processual archaeology highlights the constantly changing nature of archaeological research. While their basic principles are different, both theories contribute to a more comprehensive and diverse understanding of the human past.

Pros and Cons of Post Processual Archaeology

As with any theoretical framework, post-processual archaeology has its advantages and disadvantages. Since these advantages and disadvantages shape its impact on archaeological research and interpretation, it is important to study them a little. By exploring the pros and cons of this approach, we can get an in-depth understanding of its strengths and limitations in understanding the past.

Pros of Post-Processual Archaeology

Accepting a Variety of Interpretations: Post-processual archaeology offers the wide variety of interpretations by recognising the role of cultural subjectivity and personal opinions in shaping archaeological understanding. This approach accepts that the past can be viewed in a variety of ways, improving our understanding of past.

Highlighting Individual Agency: Post-processualism strongly focuses on the power of individuals and groups in shaping historical dynamics. This viewpoint admits that people were active participants in the past, making decisions and shaping their situations based on their intentions, beliefs, and goals.

Empowerment of Marginalised Narratives: One of the important contributions of post-processual archaeology is its ability to give voice to marginalised communities and narratives. By recognising the biases embedded within the interpretations of the past, post-processualists work to uplift the narratives of communities that have been underrepresented or silenced in uncovering the past.

Incorporating Multiple Perspectives: Post-processualism encourages interdisciplinary collaborations. And it encourages the incorporation of various perspectives, including indigenous knowledge, oral traditions, and alternative histories. This broad approach offers a more comprehensive understanding of the past.

Cons of Post-Processual Archaeology

Subjectivity and Lack of Objectivity: The focus on subjectivity is a major criticism of post-processual archaeology. Some argue that this can lead to a lack of objectivity in interpretations. Critics say that without a standardised method of analysis, interpretations may become overly speculative and lacking in solid evidence.

Relativism and Lack of Generalisation: The main focus on multiple interpretations and perspectives can lead to relativism. It means that all interpretations can be considered equally valid. This can limit the development of generalizable theories and broad understandings of the past.

Challenges in Methodological Rigour: Methodological rigour means the precision of a study in terms of planning, data collection, analysis, and reporting. Post-processualism focuses on qualitative analysis and reflexivity. That can sometimes lead to challenges with methodological rigor. Critics argue that without precise data gathering and hypothesis testing, interpretations may lack the scientific basis essential for academic validation.

Potential for Misrepresentation: The focus on welcoming multiple interpretations can sometimes lead to misinterpretation or oversimplification of cultural practices and historical narratives. It can be difficult to maintain a balance between appreciating different points of view and guaranteeing truthful representation.

In considering these pros and cons, you can see that post-processual archaeology provides a unique approach that accepts complexity, diversity, and the multi-dimensional nature of human experiences in the past. While it may face criticisms related to subjectivity and methodological rigour, its contributions to empowering marginalised voices, exploring individual agency, and encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration are undeniable.

Limitations and Challenges of Post-Processual Archaeology

Although post-processual archaeology has brought valuable insights and methodologies into the discipline, it has some limitations and challenges. These limitations are the main academic reason for the ongoing debate within archaeology. And it influences the way scholars engage with this approach.

Methodological Diversity and Rigour: The focus on qualitative analysis and reflexivity in post-processual archaeology has been both a strength and a challenge. While it promotes a deeper understanding of the past, it can occasionally result in methodological errors and a lack of standard methods. It is difficult to maintain scientific accuracy within an approach that values subjectivity.

Relativism and Lack of Consensus: The use of multiple interpretations and perspectives can sometimes lead to a sense of relativism. That means all perspectives can be considered equally valid. This lack of general agreement can limit the development of overall theories and the progress of archaeological knowledge.

Representation and Authenticity: The effort to highlight marginalised narratives and voices can sometimes lead to challenges in representation and authenticity. Post-processual archaeologists have to maintain a careful line between embracing different perspectives and avoiding misrepresentation or simplification of cultural practises.

Integration with Other Paradigms: The coexistence of post-processual archaeology with other frameworks, such as processual archaeology, structuralism, and feminist archaeology, takes careful coordination. Finding common ground and participating in productive discussions between different theoretical frameworks is an ongoing challenge.

The Future of Post-Processual Archaeology

As post-processual archaeology keeps evolving, it can shape the future of archaeological research in meaningful ways. Here are several signs of the trajectory of this approach:

Holistic Approaches: The future of post-processual archaeology depends on adopting comprehensive methods that consider both material and non-material aspects of the past. This includes integrating indigenous knowledge, oral traditions, and experiential perspectives to create a more comprehensive understanding of the past.

Interdisciplinary Collaborations: Post-processual archaeology’s focus on different perspectives and collaboration across disciplines will become more important in the future. Engaging with disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies can lead to better interpretations of archaeological evidence.

Digital and Visual Technologies: The use of digital technologies, including virtual reconstructions, 3D modeling, and GIS mapping, can improve post-processual techniques. These tools can help us visualise ancient landscapes, cultural settings, and the interaction of material culture and human behaviour.

Community Involvement and Ethical Concerns: The dedication of post-processual archaeology to empowering marginalised communities and addressing ethical concerns will decide its future. Collaboration with descendant communities and involving them in the interpretation of their history will likely become standard practice. 


Post-processual archaeology is a constantly changing and important model in the field of archaeological research. It is not another type, subdivision, or subdiscipline of archaeology. And it is another version of theory that underlies all the studies in archaeology in any subdivision or subdiscipline. It emerged as a solution for the limitations that the previously emerging processual archaeology, or new archaeology, had. Archaeologists such as Ian Hodder and Chritoper Tilley pioneered this approach in the 1980s.

While new archaeology was strictly driven by scientific methods with quantitative research to determine universal frames for the past, post-processual archaeology started to study the individuality in each archaeological context, applying multiple theories to determine the past through material remains. This approach started to look into the values that material remains carried in their original contexts among people who used those items. And it also provided space for marginalised communities to contribute to the study of the past.

Although critics are made, this theoretical movement covered an area that was not covered by processual archaeology, making archaeology more capable of understanding the past. And, with this approach, archaeology has become the study of past human behaviour and cognition.

So, in simple words, post-processual archaeology is the new approach to archaeological theory that emerged in the 1980s, aiming to conduct archaeological studies considering the fact that humans had the ability to shape their culture rather than being shaped by external factors such as the environment, and is helping us to better understand the past.