The past and future of Indigenous archaeology: Global challenges, North American perspectives, Australian prospects

13th November 2013

Learning site mapping as part of a training program for First Nations community members and displaced forestry workers (published in Australian Archaeology 52:30).

Learning site mapping as part of a training program for First Nations community members and displaced forestry workers (published in Australian Archaeology 52:30).

George Nicholas

Introduction*

Since childhood, I’ve been drawn to distant times and diverse cultures. This interest provided the impetus, and my parents the encouragement, to pursue a career as an archaeologist. It was a decision that I have never regretted, even though what anthropology is today, and how it is practiced, is very different from that which I was first exposed to just a few decades ago. As will become apparent, I view archaeology as an inseparable dimension of anthropology (and vice versa), reflecting the Boasian four-field model that is prevalent in North America. One mandate of anthropology, regardless of where it is practiced, is to document and interpret cultural diversity to obtain a deep understanding of what it is to be human-a slightly more sophisticated endeavour than my adolescent forays into National Geographic magazine. In this, we seek not only the ‘Other’, which has come to represent non-Western peoples whose lives and worldviews fall outside the realm of familiar experience, but also ourselves. As archaeologists, we are also required to seek representativeness, to ensure that our work encompasses, both methodologically and theoretically, the range of past human endeavour.

*Note that an abstract was not included with this paper, and so the introductory paragraph has been included here instead of the abstract.

 

Nicholas, G.
The past and future of Indigenous archaeology: Global challenges, North American perspectives, Australian prospects
2201
52
29–40
Article
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