Synopses & Reviews
Archaeological Theory: An Introduction
is a book that has been needed for the last twenty years. It is an accessible, lively account of current thinking in archaeology.
Taking a historical approach and using clear and jargon-free language, the book examines the roots of current debates in the development of archaeology over the last thirty years. Mathew Johnson discusses different ways of approaching the Human Past, ranging from positivism to Postmodernism. He conveys to students that theory is important and can be exciting and stimulating. He reveals the historical origins of different schools of thought and sets theories against the practical problems they are intended to solve, as well as against wider developments in other disciplines.
The book discusses what the new Archaeology meant and means, what the differences are between processual and post processual archaeology, what cognitive archaeology is or might be, and addresses politics, gender and evolution within archaeological theory. The author outlines the social and political context of different intellectual tends and provides a route map to a complex and much debated area of the subject.
This introduction will be invaluable not only to students encountering archaeology for the first time, but also to archaeologists of all areas and periods needing a lucid and concise guide to current thinking and terminology.
"Johnson does not simply give an excellent introduction to the labyrinth of -isms
that comprise contemporary archaeological theory. He also frames each competing theoretical strand in its historical context...Matthew Johnson has written a seminal textbook that is destined to become a classic and should become required reading for anyone wanting to become an archaeologist." American Journal of Archaeology.
"A very good introduction...It is written in an accessible, engaging style." Archaeology Ireland.
"Archaeological theory today consists of a bewildering variety of positions and perspectives, subtly interacting and ever changing. Mathew Johnson sheds considerable light on this complex landscape in his valuable new book Archaeological Theory: An Introduction. Written in an engaging and accessible manner, it provides an excellent account of the linkages between theory, practice, and intellectual context as it ranges from the origins of the New Archaeology to the emergence of contemporary positions such as feminism, poststructuralism, and phenomenology. I recommend it highly to students and colleagues alike." Robert W. Preucel, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania.
"A genuinely accessible and lively 'route map' to the developments in theory since the 'New Archaeology' of the early 1960s ... This is a theoretical textbook that is a pleasure to read." Post-Medieval Archaeology.
An overview of the major ideas and concepts in archaeological theory. This book takes a historical approach and examines the roots of late-1990s debates in the development of archaeology since the 1970s. Topics discussed include the differences between processual and post-processual archaeology.
This is a lively overview of the major ideas and concepts in archaeological theory.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -232) and index.
About the Author
Mathew Johnson is Professor of Archaeology at Southampton University. He has taught at the University of Durham, University of Sheffield and St David's University College, Lampeter. His previous books include Housing Culture: Traditional Architecture in an English Landscape (1993) and An Archaeology of Capitalism (1996) and he is currently researching late medieval castles in England.
Table of Contents
List of Figures.
Preface: The Contradictions of Theory.
1. Common Sense is Not Enough.
2. The 'New Archaeology'.
3. Archaeology as Science.
4. Testing, Middle-range Theory and Ethnoarchaeology.
5. Culture as a System.
6. Looking at Thoughts.
7. Postprocessual and Interpretative Archaeologies.
8. Archaeology and Gender.
9. Archaeological Evolution.
10. Archaeology and History.
11. Archaeology in a Postmodern World.
12. Conclusion: Conflict and Consensus.