The Discipline of Archaeology

Kristian Kristiansen

in The Oxford Handbook of Archaeology

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199271016
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 The Discipline of Archaeology

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  • Classical Studies
  • History and Theory of Archaeology


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This article examines the nature and history of archaeology. It describes what archaeologists do and where they work and discusses how archaeological finds are recovered and classified, and how archaeological documentations are stored and retrieved. It explains the relationship of archaeology with history, anthropology, and the humanities and suggests that the development of archaeology has been strongly linked to intellectual, ideological, and economic changes in the western world during the last 200 years. It predicts that archaeological practice will become increasingly context-dependent and situational which will in turn increase or expand the variability of archaeological theory and interpretation, not to mention its repertoire of methods.

Keywords: archaeology; archaeological finds; archaeologists; history; anthropology; humanities; archaeological theory

Article.  16952 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; History and Theory of Archaeology

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