The Rise and Fall of Culture History / Edition 1

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The Rise and Fall of Culture History presents an insightful critical analysis of the culture history approach as developed and practiced by North American-trained archaeologists during the first six decades of the twentieth century. How and why critical concepts were incorporated are discussed in detail, as are the paradigm's strengths and weaknesses. The framework for this analysis is founded on the contrast between two metaphysics used by evolutionary biologists in discussing their own discipline: materialistic/populational thinking and essentialistic/typological thinking. Employing this framework, the authors show not only why the culture history paradigm lost favor in the 1960s, but also which of its aspects need to be retained if archaeology is ever to produce a viable theory of culture change.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This engaging work describes one of the most important times in the history of American archaeology... The writing and editing are excellent; arguments are presented clearly, concisely, and completely... The material will be of most interest to serious students of archaeological interpretation. Upper-division undergraduates and above.'
Choice, February 1998
'This Book not only provides a detailed assessment of the early history of American archaeology, it offers insight into how to use that history to current advantage. I recommend the volume to archaeologists interested in understanding major contributions to American archaeology of both culture and Darwinian evolutionary archaeology. '
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 38:1 (2002)
'...should also play a significant role in reminding current archaeologists of the forgotten and unappreciated complexities of the Americanist cultural historical paradigm as it developed during the first 60 or so years of the 20th century. The Rise and Fall of Culture History and Americanist Culture: Fundamentals of Time, Space, and Form together form the most comprehensive and focused commentary on theoretical developments in American archaeology between 1900 and 1960. Lyman, O'Brien, and Dunnell effectively mix a chronological study of the paradigm's development with topical discussions of artifact classification methods and classifications of artifact aggregates. The greatest its focus on the intricate logic and thinking behind the development of categories and measurements of archaeological data that could be applied to questions of anthropological interest.'
North American Archaeologist, 22:4 (2001)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306455384
  • Publisher: Springer US
  • Publication date: 6/30/1997
  • Edition description: 1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 286
  • Product dimensions: 0.65 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
Science and Kinds of Science 3
2 Before Culture History 13
Classification and the Formal Dimension 15
Space 17
Time 20
3 The Birth of Culture History 33
Franz Boas and Manuel Gamio 34
Nels C. Nelson 37
Alfred V. Kidder 46
Alfred L. Kroeber 55
Leslie Spier 59
The Aftermath 63
4 After the Revolution 73
Measuring Time with Strata 74
Strata as Units of Time and Units of Association 77
The Formal Dimension - Early Thoughts 86
Classification of Artifacts - The Search for Historical Types 92
The Formal Dimension - Post Hoc Synopses 104
The Type-Variety System 110
Some Final Efforts to Control the Formal Dimension 114
5 Artifact Classification and Seriation 121
James A. Ford 122
Seriation Matrices 133
The Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley Survey 137
Beyond Seriation - The Debate Begins 144
The Empiricist Challenge to Artifact Classification - The Debate Continues 149
6 Classification of Artifact Aggregates 159
The Midwestern Taxonomic Method 160
In the Southwest 166
Phases, Components, and Stratigraphy 171
Formalization of the Classification of Aggregates 177
Horizons, Horizon Styles, and Traditions 185
The 1955 Seminars 194
Area Co-traditions and Whole-Culture Traditions 203
7 Culture History, Cultural Anthropology, and Cultural Evolution 207
Cultural Anthropology 209
Cultural Evolution Did Not Die in 1896 219
The Fall from Favor 224
8 An Ending Note 227
References 233
Index 265
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