Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Bookstore score

That's Willey and Phillips' Method and Theory in American Archaeology, a true classic. I think this is, in fact, the original 1958 edition. A brief synopsis:

Processual archaeology is a form of archaeological theory which arguably had its genesis in 1958 with Willey and Phillips' work, Method and Theory in American Archeology in which the pair stated that "American archeology is anthropology or it is nothing" (Willey and Phillips, 1958:2). This idea implied that the goals of archaeology were, in fact, the goals of anthropology, which were to answer questions about humans and human society. This was a critique of the former period in archaeology, the Culture-Historical phase in which archaeologists thought that any information which artifacts contained about past people and past ways of life was lost once the items became included in the archaeological record. All that could be done was to catalogue, describe, and create timelines based on the artifacts (Trigger, 1989:148).

One could probably argue with that definition, but it works okay. The quote there is probably the most famous (in archaeology circles anyway) part of it, and the subtitle, probably not readable in the photo says: "Archaeology and Anthropology meet in this study of the prehistory of the Americas". Some have argued that processual archaeology really got its start in 1947 with Taylor's A Study of Archaeology but, to my knowledge, Taylor's work didn't have immediate effect and wasn't quite as explicitly theoretical in its approach.

Haven't cracked the thing open (much) yet, but it seems almost new. No dog-eared pages, the spine is not cracked, etc. The original price was $1.95 and I paid $1.98. See, keep these archaeology books long enough and they'l increase in value. . . .