What is this thing called post-processual archaeology … and is it relevant for Australian archaeology?

23rd January 2014

Laura-Jane Smith

Introduction*

Post-processual archaeology has been extensively debated in the European and American literature. Yet little of this debate has been either related to, or conducted within, an Australian context. In this paper I want to explore and define post-processual theory, and to examine the implications of this debate for Australian archaeology. It is my contention that Australian archaeology has both something to learn from, and something to offer, the development of post-processual theory.

The proposition I wish to put forward is that Australian archaeology should not just be asking what post-processual archaeology can do for them, but what Australian archaeology can contribute to a post-processual archaeology. By this I do not necessarily mean that we should follow in the tracks of Shanks and Tilley, and Hodder et al., but rather contribute to a truly post-processual archaeology—that is a theoretically informed archaeology that comes after processualism.

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

Smith, L-J.
What is this thing called post-processual archaeology ... and is it relevant for Australian archaeology?
June 1995
40
28–32
Article
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