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The word typology literally means the study of types. Beyond this simple definition, the term has at least four distinct uses in the fields listed below:

Table of contents
1 Archaeology
2 Linguistics
3 Psychology
4 Theology


Typology is the classification of things according to their characteristics, and has seen widespread application in Archaeology. Typology may also be used to denote the results of a classification exercise, for example, a classification of pottery vessel forms such as the Dragendorff typology of Roman Samian ware.

In the 19th and early 20th Centuries archaeological typologies were usually constructed using a combination of empirical observation and intuition. Since the 1960s mathematical methods (including Cluster analysis, Principal components analysis, and Factor analysis) have been used. During the 1990s archaeologists began to use phylogenetic methods borrowed from Cladistics.

See also Taxonomy, seriation

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Typology is a branch of linguistics which concerns itself with comparing the properties that languages have, disregarding their genetic relationships.

See linguistic typology and morphological typology.


Carl Gustav Jung proposed a psychological typology based on archetypes.

See Jungian Archetypes.

Also, Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers developed a typology that categorizes a person by personality types.

See Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.


Typology is a theological doctrine or theory of types and their antitypes found in scripture. Typologists see figures, representations, events, and symbols in scripture as prefigurements designed by God to foreshadow things to come, particularly types in the Old Testament that have their antitypes in the New Testament. For example, a typologist might see Adam as a type of Jesus (Jesus would then be Adam's antitype) or might say that Noah's Flood typified the sudden destruction of the world that will happen in the future.

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