remains of hunter-gatherer groups are the most commonly discovered
archaeological resources in the world, and their study constitutes much
of the archaeological research done in North America. In spite of
paradigm-shifting discoveries elsewhere in the world that may indicate
that hunter-gatherer societies were more complex than simple remnants
of a prehistoric past, North American archaeology by and large hasn't
embraced these theories, instead maintaining its general
neoevolutionary track. This book will change that.
the latest empirical studies of archaeological practice with the latest
conceptual tools of anthropological and historical theory, this volume
seeks to set a new course for hunter-gatherer archaeology by organizing
the chapters around three themes.
The first section offers
diverse views of the role of human agency, challenging the premise that
hunter-gatherer societies were bound by their interactions with the
natural world. The second section considers how society and culture are
constituted. Chapters in the final section take the long view of the
historical process, examining how cultural diversity arises out of
interaction and the continuity of ritual practices.
A closing commentary by H. Martin Wobst underscores the promise of an
archaeology of foragers that does not associate foraging with any
particular ideology or social structure but instead invites inquiry
into counterintuitive alternatives. Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology as Historical Process
seeks to blur the divisions between prehistory and history, between
primitive and modern, and between hunter-gatherers and people in other
societies. Because it offers alternatives to the dominant discourse and
contributes to the agenda of hunter-gatherer research, this book will
be of interest to anyone involved in the study of foraging peoples.
Archaeology as Historical Process
by Kenneth E. Sassaman and Donald H. Holly Jr.
University of Arizona Press,