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Essential Tensions in Archaeological Method and Theory
by Todd L. Vanpool
University of Utah Press, 2003
Paper: 978-0-87480-764-6 | Cloth: 978-0-87480-763-9
Library of Congress Classification CC75.E78 2003
Dewey Decimal Classification 930.101

Archaeological theory, some say, seems to have fragmented into a thousand fundamentalisms. By working on a broader set of empirical issues than ever before, archaeologists are indeed applying and refining a variety of perspectives. Yet the editors of this volume make a case that it is appropriate for archaeologists to use a logical variety of theoretical structures to answer different kinds of questions, combining approaches as necessary.

In that spirit of plurality, contributors to this volume identify an important theoretical or methodological problem and present an argument regarding its solution. They also provide a critical evaluation of the current state of archaeological method and theory, illustrating that such recurrent issues as the role of agency and the importance of social considerations in the formation of archaeological research dominate current theoretical development.

By presenting both the range of important questions and a variety of answers, this volume contributes to the 'essential tension' that will further the growth of archaeological theory.

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