Cladistics & Archaeology

Cladistics & Archaeology


By (author) Michael J O'Brien, By (author) R Lee Lyman, Foreword by Robert D Leonard, Contributions by Daniel S Glover, Contributions by John Darwent

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  • Publisher: University of Utah Press,U.S.
  • Format: Hardback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 161mm x 236mm x 26mm | 631g
  • Publication date: 27 August 2003
  • Publication City/Country: Salt Lake City
  • ISBN 10: 0874807751
  • ISBN 13: 9780874807752
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Sales rank: 1,412,805

Product description

Cladistics is a method used in biology and paleobiology to establish phylogeny: what produced what and in what order. It is a very specific method, developed in Germany in the 1950s and currently the primary phylogenetic method in the world. Cladistics has also been applied to such fields as historical linguistics and manuscript history. If things evolve in a nonrandom way, they may be appropriately studied using this method.In "Cladistics and Archaeology," Michael O'Brien and Lee Lyman explore the application of cladistics to archaeology by considering artifacts as human phenotypic characters. Their fundamental premise is that particular kinds of characters (style, artifact type, tool) can be used to create historically meaningful nested taxa. Further, they argue that this approach offers a means of building connections and 'life histories' of archaeological artifacts.In order to make a potentially difficult topic more readily comprehensible, the authors have organized the book as something of a primer. "Cladistics and Archaeology "includes many figures to illustrate basic concepts, as well as a case study that shows a step-by-step application of cladistics to archaeology.

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Author information

Michael J. O'Brien is associate dean and professor of anthropology at University of Missouri, Columbia. R. Lee Lyman is professor of anthropology at University of Missouri, Columbia.

Review quote

This book demonstrates a novel approach for studying the conditions, causes, contingencies, and context within which technological change can arise."--Jose Luis Lanata, University of Buenos Aires