In ten books and numerous scholarly articles Binford discussed the evolution of his ideas and their effect on the trajectory of his research. Two of his monographs, Nunamiut Ethnoarchaeology (1978) and Bones, Ancient Men and Modern Myths (1981) are foundational studies of research undertaken to securely link the statics of the archaeological record to the dynamic conditions that produced them. Working at Archaeology (1983) and Debating Archaeology (1989) contain numerous journal articles, written between 1968 and 1988, which became widely used by his contemporaries in their teaching and research.
The thirty-seven lectures in Teaching Archaeology comprise his course, Strategies of Archaeology, presented during the 1982 fall semester at the University of New Mexico. They reflect his numerous concerns, progressing from a discussion of the nature of the archaeological record and the intellectual tools required to decode it, to how to operationalize the archaeological record to evaluate theories. Binford balances the abstract segments of his presentations with abundant historical and contemporary examples of attempts to explain the meaning of the in-ground remnants from the past. He continued to teach and do research for more than twenty years, during which the strategies outlined in these lectures become an essential part of method and theory in contemporary archaeology. Three of his papers, previously published in India and included here as Appendices, fully complement the topics dealt with in the lectures.
K. Paddayya is Emeritus Professor and former Director of Deccan College (Deemed University) in Pune. He is Honorary Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and received Padma Shri from the Government of India in 2012.
Two persons strode like colossuses the archaeological stage in the twentieth century -Gordon Childe in the first half and Lewis Binford in the later half. Childe was a raconteur par excellence of what Jawaharlal Nehru called "the astonishing adventure of man." His books Man Makes Himself, What Happened in History and Social Evolution brought the whole topic of prehistoric prelude, or what some writers now prefer to call our Deep Past, to the doorsteps of educated laymen all across the world. He also initiated pioneering inquiries into the theory and method of the discipline. In fact, in "Retrospect" which he had scripted shortly before his death, Childe clearly stated that his contributions to the discipline lay neither in making sensational field discoveries nor in recognizing the existence of new cultures but in developing "interpretative concepts and methods of explanation." And his books piecing Together the Past and Society and Knowledge have served well as anchor-stones of the discipline's theoretical framework.
If Childe was a theorist in a larger sense, Binford chose to lavish attention on the methodological domain and bring about fundamental refinements in it, thereby earning fame as a methodological theorist. Binford on his part admits his preoccupation with methodological matters when he states in this volume (Lecture 17) that "A lot of my colleagues say that it is insulting to call me a methodologist but I find it quite a compliment."
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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