Exploring the Past: Readings in Archaeology

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Synopsis: This collection of readings on anthropological archaeology draws from academic and popular venues to introduce university students to the rapidly changing character of this dynamic field. Selections represent the broad array of methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives of archaeology as it enters the 21st century.

Exploring the Past is divided into topical sections that define archaeology, identify its goals and purpose, trace its origins, and discuss the relevance of archaeology to contemporary society as it seeks to interpret humanity’s past. Bayman and Stark illustrate how archaeological concepts and methods are practically applied, from site discovery through excavation, artifact analysis, and publication. Each major section of readings is prefaced with discussion that orients students to the issue at hand, and each section is followed by an inclusive, synthetic commentary. These commentaries critically evaluate the merits of differing viewpoints and seek to forecast upcoming developments in the field in light of current trends.

Exploring the Past addresses the current controversy over cultural patrimony and alerts the student of archaeology to the acceleration of site destruction in the wake of economic development. Lavishly illustrated, Exploring the Past presents the student with several case studies to illustrate key methods and theoretical perspectives employed by archaeologists to document and explain past lifeways.

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Title: Exploring the Past: Readings in Archaeology
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