The “new archaeology,” a philosophy of archaeological research based on deductive logic, has both resolved and created problems. It has rightly stressed that the empirical content of a theory determines its acceptability; no longer must an assessment of its theoretical status be based on an appraisal of the person advancing the theory. However, a deductivist account is not satisfactory either logically or as a description of scientific processes. The basis of the problem is demonstrated by the concern of many archaeologists with ascertaining the degree to which a theory is confirmed; factual reconstruction, although of interest, is not, and should not be, fundamental to scientific work. By reexamining the basic purpose of science, I hope to demonstrate that what is required is an assessment of theoretical status based on relative empirical content.