LITTLE ARCHAEOLOGY, BIG ARCHAEOLOGY: THE CHANGING CONTEXT OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH.
AuthorROGGE, ALLEN EUGENE.
KeywordsArchaeology -- Methodology.
Committee ChairReid, J. Jefferson
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractA perspective for the archaeology of the 1980s is developed based upon the conclusion that we have entered an era of big archaeology analogous to the advent of big science in the 1950s. The birth of big archaeology coincided with a significant paradigm shift that brought us processual archaeology, but the creation of the field of cultural resource management altered the nature of archaeological research even more drastically. The scope and scale of big archaeology are defined and problems challenging this new style of archaeology are identified. The most serious is one of managing research more efficiently. To provide a framework for assessing the current status of our discipline an "external" history of American archaeology is outlined by identifying three earlier paradigms and reviewing the context of research during each. These include (1) an early 19th century paradigm focused on the origin of American Indians and more generally racial diversity, (2) a late 19th century captivation with sociocultural evolution, and (3) an early to mid-20th century enthusiasm for defining culture areas and chronologies. This review shows that our most recent paradigm shift and the rise of cultural resource management, as the dominant institutional base of research support, are not dissimilar to changes associated with each of the earlier paradigms. However the level of research funding during the current paradigm has exceeded the historic growth trend tremendously, thus creating big archaeology. An in-depth case study of the 15-year history of the cultural resource program associated with the Central Arizona Project is presented to show how one example of big archaeology originated and evolved. Trends of growth and increasingly intensive survey and salvage are documented and evaluated. (An appended annotated bibliography presents the data for this analysis.) The experience of big science is reviewed to provide insight into the issues challenging big archaeology. Several structural problems in the current context of archaeological research are highlighted and strategies for attacking them are broached.