Chapter

The Past is Underground: Archaeology and the Search for Indian History

in History's Shadow

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780226114941
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226115115 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226115115.003.0004
The Past is Underground: Archaeology and the Search for Indian History

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The development of American archaeology across the nineteenth century roughly paralleled that of language study. American archaeology struggled to establish an identity and legitimacy for itself against the developments of archaeology in the Old World. In addition, the study of Native America through objects buried underground began as a search for Indian history within the chronological frameworks of the Bible. By the century's end, while archaeology in Europe was seen as a part of the historical discipline, in the United States it became part of the largely ahistorical concerns of anthropology. And just as the development of linguistics had a profound impact on how Indian languages were studied, and thus on how their speakers were perceived, so too the path of Indian archaeology from history to anthropology led to certain ways of understanding the native past and away from others.

Keywords: Native Americans; American archaeology; Indian history; Old World; anthropology; native past

Chapter.  15179 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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