Apples and Oranges? Positioning Regional Archaeology in a Global Perspective

Author(s): Rachael Lane

Year: 2017


This paper focuses on issues and methodological approaches to the comparison of archaeological sites, scaling from a regional to a global perspective, with a specific focus on settlement archaeology. The key issue appears to be the logical difficulty of contextualizing regional culture historical data within theories of global settlement patterns. A secondary problematic issue related to the one aforementioned is in the comparison of data sets with highly variable integrity at both these scales, which adds to the difficulty of building viable comparative methodologies. Furthermore, the constraints on archaeologists conducting comparative research, arising from the non-standardization of data and practice within a globalized world are far from trivial. That said, the fact that archaeology is practiced differently all over the world resonates with Bruce Trigger’s argument that archaeological theory and method generated in different social and national contexts is a more viable pathway toward understanding the past than is the formulation of a single coherent empirical archaeological theory, or the kind of general theory that David Clarke advocated in the 1970s. This paper also attempts to utilize the tension between Trigger and Clarke to investigate issues impacting global comparative research in archaeology now and in the future.

Cite this Record

Apples and Oranges? Positioning Regional Archaeology in a Global Perspective. Rachael Lane. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430788)

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16728