The publication in 1962 of Lew Binford’s paper "Archaeology as Anthropology" is generally considered to mark the birth of processualism—a critical turning point in American archaeology. In the hands of Binford and other young University of Chicago graduates of the 1960s, this "new" archaeology became the mainstream approach in the U.S. The realignment that the processualists proposed was so thorough that its effects are still being felt today. Predictably, processualism also spun off a number of other "isms," several of which grew up to challenge its supremacy.
Archaeology as a Process traces the intellectual history of Americanist archaeology in terms of the research groups that were at the forefront of these various approaches, concentrating as much on the archaeologists as it does on method and theory, thus setting it apart from other treatments published in the last fifteen years.
Peppered with rare photographs of well-known archaeologists in some interesting settings, the book documents the swirl and excitement of archaeological controversy for the past forty years with over 1,600 references and an in-depth treatment of all the major intellectual approaches. The contributors examine how archaeology is conducted—the ins and outs of how various groups work to promote themselves—and how personal ambition and animosities can function to further rather than retard the development of the discipline.
Fourteen experts examine the current state of Central Valley prehistoric research and provide an important touchstone for future archaeological study of the region.
The Mississippi Valley region has long played a critical role in the development of American archaeology and continues to be widely known for the major research of the early 1950s. To bring the archaeological record up to date, fourteen Central Valley experts address diverse topics including the distribution of artifacts across the landscape, internal configurations of large fortified settlements, human-bone chemistry, and ceramic technology.
The authors demonstrate that much is to be learned from the rich and varied archaeological record of the region and that the methods and techniques used to study the record have changed dramatically over the past half century. Operating at the cutting edge of current research strategies, these archaeologists provide a fresh look at old problems in central Mississippi Valley research.
Cladistics and Archaeology
Michael J O'Brien University of Utah Press, 2003 Library of Congress CC75.7.O275 2003 | Dewey Decimal 930.1012
Cladistics is a method used in biology and paleobiology to establish phylogeny: what produced what and in what order. It is a very specific method, developed in Germany in the 1950s and currently the primary phylogenetic method in the world. Cladistics has also been applied to such fields as historical linguistics and manuscript history. If things evolve in a nonrandom way, they may be appropriately studied using this method.
In Cladistics and Archaeology, Michael O’Brien and Lee Lyman explore the application of cladistics to archaeology by considering artifacts as human phenotypic characters. Their fundamental premise is that particular kinds of characters (style, artifact type, tool) can be used to create historically meaningful nested taxa. Further, they argue that this approach offers a means of building connections and 'life histories' of archaeological artifacts.
In order to make a potentially difficult topic more readily comprehensible, the authors have organized the book as something of a primer. Cladistics and Archaeology includes many figures to illustrate basic concepts, as well as a case study that shows a step-by-step application of cladistics to archaeology.
The application of Darwinian theory to archaeological phenomena has always been a difficult concept. In its most modern form, this approach has only gained currency since the 1980s. Perhaps the greatest hurdle to incorporating scientific evolutionism into archaeology is the necessary development of more than a rudimentary understanding of Darwinian evolution itself. Failure to recognize the conflict of anthropological terms such as "adaptation" and "fitness" with standard biological usage is fatal to any attempt to apply scientific evolutionism to the material record. Even more problematic are the outdated notions that human culture has allowed us to escape the effects of selection, that culture evolves, and that it does so in a progressive manner.
This volume assembles what might be considered the benchmark articles in evolutionary archaeology — articles that show how to apply scientific evolutionism to the study of variation in the archaeological record. It delineates an approach to the past in which artifacts are viewed as parts of human phenotypes and thus are subject to selection in the same manner as any somatic feature.
Evolutionary Archaeology: Theory and Application is aimed at archaeologists who want to understand the basics of evolutionary archaeology and who wish to do so from the beginning.
This collection of Ford's works focuses on the development of ceramic chronology—a key tool in Americanist archaeology.
When James Ford began archaeological fieldwork in 1927, scholars divided time simply into prehistory and history. Though certainly influenced by his colleagues, Ford devoted his life to establishing a chronology for prehistory based on ceramic types, and today he deserves credit for bringing chronological order to the vast archaeological record of the Mississippi Valley.
This book collects Ford's seminal writings showing the importance of pottery styles in dating sites, population movements, and cultures. These works defined the development of ceramic chronology that culminated in the major volume Archaeological Survey in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley, 1940-1947, which Ford wrote with Philip Phillips and James B. Griffin. In addition to Ford's early writings, the collection includes articles written with Griffin and Gordon Willey, as well as other key papers by Henry Collins and Fred Kniffen.
Editors Michael O'Brien and Lee Lyman have written an introduction that sets the stage for each chapter and provides a cohesive framework from which to examine Ford's ideas. A foreword by Willey, himself a participant in this chronology development, looks back on the origin of that method. Measuring the Flow of Time traces the development of culture history in American archaeology by providing a single reference for all of Ford's writing on chronology. It chronicles the formation of one of the most important tools for understanding the prehistory of North America and shows its lasting relevance.
This invaluable classic provides the framework for the development of American archaeology during the last half of the 20th century.
In 1958 Gordon R. Willey and Philip Phillips first published Method and Theory in American Archaeology—a volume that went through five printings, the last in 1967 at the height of what became known as the new, or processual, archaeology. The advent of processual archaeology, according to Willey and Phillips, represented a "theoretical debate . . . a question of whether archaeology should be the study of cultural history or the study of cultural process."
Willey and Phillips suggested that little interpretation had taken place in American archaeology, and their book offered an analytical perspective; the methods they described and the structural framework they used for synthesizing American prehistory were all geared toward interpretation. Method and Theory served as the catalyst and primary reader on the topic for over a decade.
This facsimile reprint edition of the original University of Chicago Press volume includes a new foreword by Gordon R. Willey, which outlines the state of American archaeology at the time of the original publication, and a new introduction by the editors to place the book in historical context. The bibliography is exhaustive. Academic libraries, students, professionals, and knowledgeable amateurs will welcome this new edition of a standard-maker among texts on American archaeology.
This collection elucidates the key role played by the National Research Council seminars, reports, and pamphlets in setting an agenda that has guided American archaeology in the 20th century.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the fascination that Americans had for the continent's prehistoric past was leading to a widespread and general destruction of archaeological evidence. In a drive toward the commercialization of antiquities, amateur collectors and "pot hunters" pillaged premier and lesser-known sites before the archaeological record could be properly investigated and documented. Adding to the problem was a dearth of professionals and scholars in the field to conduct professional investigations and to educate the public about the need for preservation and scientific research methods.
In stepped the National Research Council, a division of the National Academy of Sciences, the Committee on State Archaeological Surveys. The CSAS initiated an enormously successful outreach program to enlist the aid of everyday citizens in preserving the fragile but valuable prehistoric past. Meetings held in St. Louis, Birmingham, and Indianapolis provided nuts-and-bolts demonstrations by trained archaeologists and laid out research agendas that both professionals and amateurs could follow.
Setting the Agenda contains the complete reports of the three NRC conferences, a short publication on the methods and techniques for conducting archaeological surveys, and a guide for amateur archaeologists. An extensive introduction by the editors sets these documents in context and provides insight into the intentions of the NRC committee members as they guided the development of American archaeology.
Darwin's theory of evolutionary descent with modification rests in part on the notion that there is heritable continuity affected by transmission between ancestor and descendant. It is precisely this continuity that allows one to trace hylogenetic histories between fossil taxa of various ages and recent taxa. Darwin was clear that were an analyst to attempt such tracings, then the anatomical characters of choice are those least influenced by natural selection, or what are today referred to as adaptively neutral traits. The transmission of these traits is influenced solely by such mechanisms as drift and not by natural selection.
The application of Darwin's theory to archaeological phenomena requires that the theory be retooled to accommodate artifacts. One aspect that has undergone this retooling concerns cultural transmission, the mechanism that affects heritable continuity between cultural phenomena. Archaeologists have long traced what is readily interpreted as heritable continuity between artifacts, but the theory underpinning their tracings is seldom explicit. Thus what have been referred to as artifacts styles underpin such tracings because styles are adaptively neutral. Other traits are referred to as functional.
In their introduction to Style, Function, Transmission, Michael O’Brien and R. Lee Lyman outline in detail the interrelations of a theory of cultural descent with modification and the concepts of drift, style, and function. The chapters in the volume specifically address the issues of selection and drift and their relation to style and function. In non-polemic presentations, contributors specify empirical implications of aspects of cultural transmission for evolutionary lineages of artifacts and then present archaeological data for those implications.
As a major hunting tool and weapon, the bow changed human history around the world, and its diverse forms reflect the cultures that adopted it. Those variations can be seen in the Charles E. Grayson Archery Collection housed at the University of Missouri–Columbia Museum of Anthropology, one of the largest and most comprehensive assemblages of archery-related materials in the world. This handsome book offers a unique look at archery as it has been practiced through the ages.
Drawing on a collection of more than five thousand bows, arrows, and associated paraphernalia, Traditional Archery from Six Continents presents color photographs and descriptions of some three hundred items—including quivers, thumb rings, and more—that represent traditional archery practices and customs from around the world. From the Chinese “monkey bow” to the English longbow, the artifacts are organized by region, taking in equipment from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, and Europe used over the past five hundred years.
The book’s introduction provides an overview of traditional archery and its nomenclature, and chapter essays situate the items in their historical, cultural, and technological contexts. Plate descriptions note materials, construction methods, dimensions, and temporal and cultural affiliations. The sharp, detailed photographs will enable users to identify the geographic or cultural origins of other pieces by visual comparison. Additional illustrations show how archery equipment has been used in various settings such as hunting, warfare, and sport.
These superb representations from a masterful collection constitute a complete introduction to worldwide archery and mark the first wide-ranging survey of European and non-European archery equipment. Traditional Archery from Six Continents will be the standard reference work in the study of archery, indispensable for students of material culture or general readers interested in the history of this timeless art.
This book explains the deep influence of biological methods and theories on the practice of Americanist archaeology by exploring W. C. McKern's use of Linnaean taxonomy as the model for development of a pottery classification system.
By the early 20th century, North American archaeologists had found evidence of a plethora of prehistoric cultures displaying disparate geographic and chronological distributions. But there were no standards or algorithms for specifying when a culture was distinct or identical to another in a nearby or distant region.
Will Carleton McKern of the Milwaukee Public Museum addressed this fundamental problem of cultural classification beginning in 1929. He modeled his solution—known as the Midwestern Taxonomic Method—on the Linnaean biological taxonomy because he wanted the ability to draw historical and cultural "relationships" among cultures. McKern was assisted during development of the method by Carl E. Guthe, Thorne Deuel, James B. Griffin, and William Ritchie.
This book studies the 1930s correspondence between McKern and his contemporaries as they hashed out the method's nuances. It compares the several different versions of the method and examines the Linnaean biological taxonomy as it was understood and used at the time McKern adapted it to archaeological problems. Finally, this volume reveals how and why the method failed to provide the analytical solution envisioned by McKern and his colleagues and how it influenced the later development of Americanist archaeology.
The Woodland Southeast
Edited by David G. Anderson and Robert C. Mainfort University of Alabama Press, 2002 Library of Congress E99.W84W66 2002 | Dewey Decimal 976.01
This collection presents, for the first time, a much-needed synthesis of the major research themes and findings that characterize the Woodland Period in the southeastern United States.
The Woodland Period (ca. 1200 B.C. to A.D. 1000) has been the subject of a great deal of archaeological research over the past 25 years. Researchers have learned that in this approximately 2000-year era the peoples of the Southeast experienced increasing sedentism, population growth, and organizational complexity. At the beginning of the period, people are assumed to have been living in small groups, loosely bound by collective burial rituals. But by the first millennium A.D., some parts of the region had densely packed civic ceremonial centers ruled by hereditary elites. Maize was now the primary food crop. Perhaps most importantly, the ancient animal-focused and hunting-based religion and cosmology were being replaced by solar and warfare iconography, consistent with societies dependent on agriculture, and whose elites were increasingly in competition with one another. This volume synthesizes the research on what happened during this era and how these changes came about while analyzing the period's archaeological record.
In gathering the latest research available on the Woodland Period, the editors have included contributions from the full range of specialists working in the field, highlighted major themes, and directed readers to the proper primary sources. Of interest to archaeologists and anthropologists, both professional and amateur, this will be a valuable reference work essential to understanding the Woodland Period in the Southeast.