Since the debut of the New Archaeology in the 1960s, approaches to the science of interpreting the material past have proliferated.
Seeking to find common ground in an increasingly fractious and polarized discipline, a group of archaeological theorists representing various schools of thought gathered in a roundtable, during the fall of 1997. As organizer, Michael Schiffer sought to build bridges that might begin to span the conceptual chasms that have formed in archaeology during the past few decades. Many participants in the roundtable accepted the challenge of building bridges, but some rejected the premise that bridge building is desirable or feasible. Even so, every chapter in the resulting volume contributes something provocative or significant to the enterprise of constructing social theory in archaeology and setting the agenda for future social-theoretic research.
With contributions from every major school of thought, whether informed by evolutionary theory, feminism, chaos theory, behavioralism, or post-processualism, this volume serves as both handbook to an array of theoretical approaches and as a useful look at each school’s response to criticism.