Urban archaeology: American theory, Australian practice

23rd May 2014

Damaris Bairstow

Urban archaeology is a recent development in Australia. Australian academics and practitioners turned to America for guidance but, it is alleged, took American arguments out of their context. This paper seeks to place current American theory into its contextual framework in order to test its relevance to Australian circumstances. After an introduction which sets out the basic problem, the paper provides a resume of sixty years of historical archaeology in America. The paper then turns to the current debate on archaeology in the urban environment and questions its applicability to Australian urban archaeology. Several Australian excavations are discussed in the light of American experience. The paper ends by suggesting future directions for urban archaeology in Australia.

Bairstow, D.
Urban archaeology: American theory, Australian practice
December 1991
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