Cladistics and Archaeology

Cladistics and Archaeology

by Michael J O'Brien, R. Lee Lyman
     
 

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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This book demonstrates a novel approach for studying the conditions, causes, contingencies, and context within which technological change can arise."—José Luis Lanata, University of Buenos Aires
 

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780874807752
Publisher:
University of Utah Press
Publication date:
12/28/2003
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Michael J. O'Brien is associate dean and professor of anthropology at University of Missouri, Columbia.

R. Lee Lyman is professor of anthropology at University of Missouri, Columbia.

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