Public Release: 

Anthropologists' book examines current state of archaeology

Field Museum

CHICAGO - Over the past century, the field of archaeology has made remarkable progress and provided vast insights into the human condition. Today, however, archaeology faces a precarious future.

Globally, archaeological sites are disappearing rapidly due to economic development and the spread of human populations. In many places, the looting of sites is rampant. Meanwhile, collection space and research funds are diminishing.

These factors make now, the beginning of a new century, an ideal time to take stock of the archaeological endeavor. Archaeology at the Millennium (Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2001) offers a critical, in-depth perspective of the current condition and intellectual vitality of the discipline of archeology. It is edited by Gary M. Feinman, PhD., chair of the department of anthropology at The Field Museum in Chicago; and T. Douglas Price, PhD, professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. The book offers a wide range of views from an internationally distinguished roster of prominent archaeologists.

"As a sourcebook for archaeology at the millennium, this volume will remain a landmark well into the 2000s," said Patty Jo Watson, Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor at Washington University. The comprehensive review and showcase for archaeology outlines where the discipline has been and where it is going.

· Part I examines the history of archaeology and the advance of archaeological theory.

· Part II ranges over the first four million years of human evolution as a cultural species and covers first hominids to complex hunter-gatherers.

· Part III looks at the origins of agriculture and features discussion of such issues as craft production, the division of labor, warfare, and the rise of social inequality.

· Part IV analyzes the rise of states and empires in both the Old and New Worlds. This section also examines the archaeology of the classical Mediterranean states. A final chapter portends the future of archaeology.

Archaeology, one of the most dynamic of the social sciences, is growing in strength and stature as a means to understand where humans came from and the historical processes that have led us to where we are today. This volume defines the intellectual state of this discipline, which is central to understanding the human condition.


Media contacts:
Greg Borzo 312-665-7106 until July 27
Nancy O'Shea 312-665-7100 after July 27

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