Changing Perspectives on Hunter-Gatherers in Continental and in Anglo-American Archaeology

By Reybrouck, David Van | Antiquity, December 1994 | Go to article overview

Changing Perspectives on Hunter-Gatherers in Continental and in Anglo-American Archaeology


Reybrouck, David Van, Antiquity


How different are the intellectual traditions of Continental and of Anglo-American archaeology, and how is each changing? Counting papers in the standard journals which address aspects of hunter-gatherer archaeology may show.

Introduction

Until very recently Continental archaeology has always been considered mainly an empiricist enterprise, in which theoretical issues are rarely discussed. Rather than losing themselves in sterile philosophical and social-scientific discussions, most Continental archaeologists, it has been assumed, confine themselves to 'real archaeology': meticulous excavations, detailed and analytical studies of archaeological material and scrupulous publications of excavation reports. This was the way most Continental researchers considered themselves (and implicitly still do). It was also the dominant conception in the Anglo-American world (and implicitly still is): empirical research as the main occupation of Continental archaeologists, theoretical reflection primarily a product of the English-speaking countries. This division of labour in reality reflected a mutual lack of interest in what each tradition considered as primary important.

In recent years, this has changed considerably. Regional traditions on the Continent (such as the Dutch and the Scandinavian) have shown an increasing interest in the Anglo-American debate. It is not a coincidence that precisely these countries are characterized by a good knowledge of English. The publication in English of theoretical periodicals (Norwegian Archaeological Review for Norway and Archaeological Dialogues for the Netherlands), both organized by the Anglo-American peer review system, is in this respect significant. In Germany, an interest in Anglo-American debates, existing already in the seventies (Eggert 1976; 1978), has had an increased attention (Harke 1989; 1991). But mainstream German archaeology remains atheoretical in the sense that there is no need to state explicitly one's theoretical position (Sommer 1991; Klejn 1993). This can also be said about France (Cleuziou et al. 1991; Olivier & Coudart in press; see for example Courbin 1982), despite the work of authors such as Gardin (1979) and Gallay (1989) whose theoretical reflections developed independently from Anglo-American discussions.

On the other hand, the publication of Ian Hodder's edited volume on Archaeological theory in Europe (Hodder 1991) and the 1992 EuroTAG in Southampton show a recent Anglo-American interest in Continental archaeology and its theoretical positions.

Before investigating the origins of this recent mutual and valuable interest between Anglo-American and Continental archaeology, we need to look at the nature of certain specific research traditions. The study of hunter-gatherers provides an interesting domain in which the regional differences between Continental and Anglo-American approaches can be seen. In this article I compare English and North American approaches on the one hand, with the Continental school of the so-called traditional countries (Germany and France) on the other. The terms 'Anglo-American' and 'Continental' are used only with reference to these specific countries.

Methodology

If science is a discourse, then texts are its vital and tangible products. A study of some of these texts such as articles in scientific periodicals can offer insights into this discourse.

For each country, an important periodical was chosen: Current Anthropology for the USA, Antiquity for the UK, Gallia Prehistoire for France, Prahistorische Zeitschrift and Quartar for Germany. The specifics of each periodical may not always reflect the general characteristics of their countries. Gallia Prehistoire, originally set up to publish excavation results, might have a profile different from, for example Bulletin de la Societe Prehistorique Francaise. Nevertheless, in France Gallia Prehistoire is recognized as a leading periodical for hunter-gatherer studies and was therefore selected.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Changing Perspectives on Hunter-Gatherers in Continental and in Anglo-American Archaeology
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.