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The Matthew Effect in Archaeology: Discovery, the Transmission of Knowledge, and Credit

Author(s): Andrew Christenson

Year: 2016

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Although the Matthew Effect was originally used by sociologist Robert K. Merton for the disproportionate credit given to eminent scientists in cases of collaboration or independent discoveries within a professional discipline, it also is appropriate to apply it to situations where professionals take away or gain credit for work done by amateurs. Examples of such an effect are provided with an examination of the more general issue of how knowledge of discoveries is transmitted in archaeology and how outsiders are usually at a strong disadvantage over insiders in making their research known and in receiving credit for important contributions. This effect is further reinforced when it carries over into histories of archaeology that take the research activities of professionals to be their primary basis, leaving recognition of the important contributions of amateurs under- or unrepresented.

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The Matthew Effect in Archaeology: Discovery, the Transmission of Knowledge, and Credit. Andrew Christenson. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403158)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America