Article

A Short History of Theory in Mesoamerican Archaeology

Manuel Gándara

in The Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195390933
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195390933.013.0002

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 A Short History of Theory in Mesoamerican Archaeology

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This article attempts to identify the most important theoretical positions in Mesoamerican archaeology, briefly commenting on occasion about some substantive theories. The first real theoretical position would be historical particularism, centered on the cognitive goal of description, and going from the late 1890s to the 1950s, the “foundational period,” followed by neoevolutionism and Marxism with their variants, championing some form of explanation, roughly from the late 1950s and onward, in the “theoretical self-awareness period,” and finally, in a “theoretical diversification” period, with postprocessual archaeologists pursuing hermeneutic Interpretation (from the 1980s onward), and the flourishing of “thematic archaeologies”.

Keywords: Mesoamerica; historical particularism; neoevolutionism; Marixism; hermeneutic interpretation; thematic archaeologies; theoretical self-awareness

Article.  6665 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology by Region ; History and Theory of Archaeology

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