Synopses & Reviews
Atlantis, ancient astronauts, and pyramid power. Archaeologists are perennially bombarded with questions about the “mysteries” of the past. They are also constantly addressing more realistic controversies: origins of the First Americans, the ownership of antiquities, and national claims to historical territories. Alice Beck Kehoe offers to introductory students a method of evaluating and assessing these claims about the past in this reader-friendly, concise text. She shows how to use the methods of science to challenge the legitimacy of pseudoscientific proclamations and develop reasonable interpretations on controversial issues. Not one to shy away from controversy herself, Kehoe takes some stands—on transpacific migration, shamanism, the Kensington Runestone—which will challenge instructor and students alike, and foster class discussion.
Kehoe asserts that "archaeology is a science remarkably suited to illustrating how societal biases and conventional dogmas affect interpretation, and even discovery, of empirical facts." She then exposes how acceptance of scientific explanations about archaeological phenomena is earned within the discipline. She is interested in how unorthodox explanations for complex scientific phenomena are treated; where innovative explanations are likely to arise within the archaeological profession; and how the social construction of archaeological science directs, to some degree, its core paradigms. Throughout her narrative, Kehoe introduces memorable innovators of methods, theories, and explanations. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries.
— S. R. Martin, CHOICE
Alice Beck Kehoe offers introductory students a method of evaluating and assessing claims about the past in this reader-friendly, concise text, using examples from Native American origins to ancient astronauts.
About the Author
Alice Beck Kehoe is Professor of Anthropology emerita at Marquette University and Adjunct Professor in Anthropology, University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee. She has authored textbooks for courses on Native Americans, introductory archaeology, and the history of archaeology, as well as numerous professional books and articles, in her illustrious career. Her fieldwork has stretched from Saskatchewan to Bolivia and from the Czech Republic to Illinois. She has worked extensively with Native American communities and is one of the founders of gender research in archaeology.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Past is Today
Chapter 2: Scientific Method
Chapter 3: Popular Archaeology
Chapter 4: America's First Nation and Archaeology
Chapter 5: Finding Diversity
Chapter 6: Religion and Archaeology
Chapter 7: "Diffusion" versus Independent Invention
Chapter 8: What People Before Us Could Do: Earlier Technologies
Chapter 9: Neanderthals, Farmers, Warriors, and Cannibals: Bringing in Biological Data
Chapter 10: Competing Theories of Cultural Development
About the Author