The Theoretical Scene, 1960–2000

Matthew H. Johnson

in The Oxford Handbook of Archaeology

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 The Theoretical Scene, 1960–2000

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  • Classical Studies
  • History and Theory of Archaeology


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This article examines changes in the scope, range, parameters, content, and rhetoric of archaeological theory during the period from 1960 to 2000. It explains that during the 1960s theoretical debate played a relatively minor role in archaeological discourse but by the year 2000 many, if not most, archaeologists had already appreciated the impact of theoretical debates on their work. It discusses the origins and rise of the ‘new’ or ‘processual’ archaeology in the 1960s and 1970s, and the subsequent formation and development of ‘postprocessual’ approaches in the 1980s and 1990s.

Keywords: archaeological theory; theoretical debate; archaeologists; processual archaeology; archaeological discourse

Article.  7820 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; History and Theory of Archaeology

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