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The History of American Archaeology: An Examination of Procedure

Robert L. Schuyler
American Antiquity
Vol. 36, No. 4 (Oct., 1971), pp. 383-409
DOI: 10.2307/278460
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/278460
Page Count: 27
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The History of American Archaeology: An Examination of Procedure
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Abstract

Recently, there has been an intensification of interest in the history of American archaeology, and a number of general attempts at delineating the history of the entire field have been advanced since 1940. Most of these overall views have taken the form of explanatory-periodization schemes. Four of these schemes are reviewed in this article and then examined in the light of 4 testcase studies: (1) the initial period of archaeology in the Southwest (1840-1860), (2) the history of archaeology in the Grand Canyon region (1540-1964), (3) the development of Kentucky prehistory (1661-1957), and (4) the study of early man in the United States (1500-1965). A number of discrepancies and weaknesses are shown in all the schemes under review, and the use of any such period scheme in the initial history of a science is questioned. The nature of period schemes is then examined resulting in the suggestion that all such undertakings should serve as tentative working hypotheses rather than end goals in themselves.

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