Artifacts and Ideas: Essays in Archaeology

Artifacts and Ideas: Essays in Archaeology


By (author) Bruce G. Trigger

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  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Format: Hardback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 162mm x 240mm x 24mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 3 December 2002
  • Publication City/Country: Somerset, NJ
  • ISBN 10: 0765801655
  • ISBN 13: 9780765801654

Product description

Prehistoric archaeologists cannot observe their human subjects or directly access their ideas; both must be inferred from what survives of the material objects they made and used. In recent decades this has led to a partisan approach to the history and method of archaeology. From an empirical discipline stressing data, classification, and chronology, it has given way to a behaviorist approach interpreting finds as products of ecologically adaptive strategies and then to an idealist, cultural-relativist epistemology stressing belief and cultural traditions. Most recently, Darwinian or evolutionary archaeology has established itself as a materialist substitute. In Artifacts and Ideas, Bruce G. Trigger challenges these partisan versions of recent developments in archaeology while remaining committed to understanding the past from a social science perspective.

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Author information

Bruce G. Trigger is James McGill Professor in the Department of Anthropology at McGill University. His current interests embrace the comparative study of early civilizations, the history of archaeology, and archaeological theory. His numerous books include The Children of Aataentsic, A History of the Huron People to 1660, A History of Archaeological Thought, and Sociocultural Evolution.

Review quote

"This collection is a fine narrative of the development of Trigger's metaphysics in his archaeological and historical research. It is accessible, clearly written, and worth close reading." --Christopher S. Peebles, Journal of Field Archaeology "Trigger is a brilliant essayist, and Artifacts and Ideas brings together a number of the most incisive and keenly observed essays he has written in the course of a long and productive career." --Alison Wylie, Washington University "Eloquent, subtly nuanced, and thoroughly grounded in the contemporary world, Trigger's essays are an essential guide to the multifaceted archeology of today." --Brian Fagan, University of California, Santa Barbara