A radical shift in orientation alongside the objects of archaeology has occasioned a reconsideration of what theory is in a very general sense. What function does it serve and how might we define it? In retrospect, these questions arise not in the context of paradigms and strong theories, which some consider to have run their course, but in their absence. Here, there is a danger that theory might be jettisoned altogether if its nature and purpose are not critically re-assessed. The modest goal of this paper is to join in on this conversation.