Archaeology in the Making: Conversations through a Discipline, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Archaeology in the Making

Conversations through a Discipline, 1st Edition

Edited by William L Rathje, Michael Shanks, Christopher Witmore


448 pages | 26 B/W Illus.

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Archaeology in the Making is a collection of bold statements about archaeology, its history, how it works, and why it is more important than ever. This book comprises conversations about archaeology among some of its notable contemporary figures. They delve deeply into the questions that have come to fascinate archaeologists over the last forty years or so, those that concern major events in human history such as the origins of agriculture and the state, and questions about the way archaeologists go about their work. Many of the conversations highlight quite intensely held personal insight into what motivates us to pursue archaeology; some may even be termed outrageous in the light they shed on the way archaeological institutions operate – excavation teams, professional associations, university departments.

Archaeology in the Making is a unique document detailing the history of archaeology in second half of the 20th century to the present day through the words of some of its key proponents. It will be invaluable for anybody who wants to understand the theory and practice of this ever developing discipline.


"Archaeology in the Making presents archaeology as an imaginative and exciting discipline by inviting prominent archaeologists to reflect on how they work and learn from their practice: how have they lived and developed their careers; why did they choose to work on particular topics; what do they think are their successes and failures; where do they situate themselves intellectually; how have they interacted with their peers; how do they communicate with the public; and in what ways do they agree and disagree about their subject? The reader will learn about archaeology, its history, work, ethics and importance through the experiences and insights of its practitioners."Bob Chapman, University of Reading, UK.

"Archaeology in the Making is a fascinating collection of interviews – lively, controversial and exciting. The back-and-forth nature of the dialogues brings to life themes that often appear drab and dull when presented as printed monologues. If you want a colourful, diverse set of informed opinions on where the field is today, these discussions are a great place to start." - Matthew H. Johnson, Northwestern University, USA.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Part I: The Archaeological Imagination 2. Binford 3. Schiffer 4. Watson 5. Renfrew 6. Wylie 7. Hodder Part II: The Workings of a Discipline 8. Adrian and Mary Praetzellis 9. Kristiansen 10. Cowgill 11. Schnapp 12. Alcock and Cherry Part III: Political Ecologies (Realpolitik) 13. Leone 14. Buchli and McGuire 15. Conkey 16. Tringham 17. Meskell 18. Rathje and Shanks 19. Archaeology: An ecology of practices

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology