|Title of host publication||The Encyclopedia of Archaeological Sciences|
|Editors||Sandra L. López Varela|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|
The term material culture became dominant in archaeology during the twentieth century, yet in two very different ways. In one version, material culture is a category of objects that allows scientists a glimpse of the past; in another, it is the active capacity of material remains of human production to constitute social worlds. Material culture is thus both an object of scrutiny in terms of composition, provenience, and production techniques, and a symbolic reflection of and practical constituent of social values. But the term is also problematic, as it implies that it is either a subcategory of culture, or that there are other aspects of human lives that are not in any way related to material surroundings.