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The Harvey Lecture Series. Science, Social Science, and Common Sense: The Agonizing Dilemma of Modern Archaeology

Robert C. Dunnell
Journal of Anthropological Research
Vol. 38, No. 1 (Spring, 1982), pp. 1-25
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629946
Page Count: 25
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The Harvey Lecture Series. Science, Social Science, and Common Sense: The Agonizing Dilemma of Modern Archaeology
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Abstract

For twenty years, American archaeology has been engaged in an effort to change the nature of the discipline. Prominent among the goals has been the creation of a "scientific" archaeology. While archaeology has changed greatly in many respects during this period, progress toward a scientific discipline has been decidedly limited. It is the contention of this paper that failure to consider critical metaphysical issues lies at the heart of this failure, and that little progress toward the initial goal can be realized until these issues are resolved. At the same time, clearer specification of the nature of the goal may call into question the reasonableness of a truly scientific archaeology.

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