Method and Theory in American Archaeology

By Gordon R. Willey; Philip Phillips | Go to book overview

Preface

In the summer of 1952, as a result of numerous discussions, we decided to set down our thoughts on certain methodological and theoretical questions in American archaeology. The original plan was an article in two parts: the first, a statement of what we believed to be the minimal aims of archaeology and the basic operations directed toward the achievement of these aims, and the second, some theoretical formulations about New World prehistory. The first part was subsequently published under the title "Method and Theory in American Archaeology: An Operational Basis for Culture-Historical Integration."1 The second part followed a year and a half later as "Method and Theory in American Archaeology II: Historical-Developmental Interpretation."2 The comments and criticism which these papers drew from colleagues and students have kept us interested in the subject, and, as a result, we have rewritten both original papers and combined them, along with an introduction, originally published as a brief journal article,3 in the present volume.

A good many of the revisions and additions we have made to the original papers are the result of second thoughts, which we trust are better than the first ones. Others, by no means the least substantial, are the direct result of critical comments and suggestions on the part of colleagues in archaeology and anthropology. To list them all would provide a roster of impressive proportions. We would, however, like to single out Albert C. Spaulding and Irving Rouse for the time, interest, and advice they have expended in our behalf.

____________________
1
Phillips and Willey, 1953.
2
Willey and Phillips, 1955.
3

Phillips, 1955.

-vii-

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