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Archaeological Theory: An Introduction, 3rd Edition



Archaeological Theory: An Introduction, 3rd Edition

Matthew Johnson

ISBN: 978-1-118-49938-2 March 2019 Wiley-Blackwell 400 Pages

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A lively and accessible introduction to themes and debates in archaeological theory for students of all levels 

Archaeological Theory is a relatable, accessible, reader-friendly first step into the world of theory for archaeology students. Recognizing that many students shy away from the study of theory for fear that the material is too difficult or obscure, Archaeological Theory maintains that any student can develop an understanding of theory and that a knowledge of theory will lead to better practice. As one of the leading texts for introductory courses in archaeology and archaeological theory, it has provided many students with the essential foundation for a complete education in the discipline.

With a focus on clarifying the history and development of archaeological theory, this valuable text serves as a roadmap to the different schools of theory in archaeology, clarifying the foundations of these schools of thought, the relationships between them, and the ideas that distinguish each from the other. Students will also learn about the relationship between archaeology and cultural and political developments, the origins of New and ‘post-processual’ archaeology, and current issues shaping the field. Written in a clear and informal style and incorporating examples, cartoons, and dialogues, this text provides an ideal introduction for students at all levels. The revised third edition has been updated with new and revised chapters and an expanded glossary and bibliography, as well as new readings to guide further study.

  • Engages readers with informal and easy-to-understand prose, as well as examples, cartoons, and informal dialogues
  • Prepares students to understand complex topics and current and perennial issues in the field such as epistemology, agency, and materiality in the context of archaeological practice
  • Discusses current developments in associated disciplines
  • New and revised chapters on the material turn, politics and other issues, and an expanded glossary and bibliography with updated reading suggestions
  • Offers expanded coverage of materiality, cultural-historical archaeology, evolutionary theory, and the work of scholars of diverse backgrounds and specializations

Engaging and illuminating, Archaeological Theory is an indispensable resource for undergraduate and graduate students in archaeology and related disciplines.

List of Figures viii

Acknowledgments x

Preface: The Contradictions of Theory xi

1 Common Sense is Not Enough 1

2 The “New Archaeology” 13

3 Archaeology as a Science 38

4 Middle‐range Theory, Ethnoarchaeology and Material Culture Studies 54

5 Culture and Process 72

6 Thoughts and Ideologies 94

7 Postprocessual and Interpretative Archaeologies 108

8 The Material Turn 132

9 Archaeology, Gender, and Identity 156

10 Archaeology and Cultural Evolution 180

11 Archaeology and Darwinian Evolution 202

12 Archaeology and History 226

13 Archaeology, Politics, and Culture 246

14 Conclusion: The Future of Theory 260

Selective Glossary 284

Further Reading 294

Bibliography 317

Index 358