Whither archaeology? revisited

A mention of Jacquetta Hawkes in the Guardian obituary of an archaeologist whose approach to the subject was very different from hers: Lewis Binford.  Colin Renfrew describes him as the “principal protagonist of processual archaeology” i.e. the “New Archaeology” (in this appreciation in Antiquity).

The writer of the obituary, Clive Gamble, was impressed by Binford’s performance in a BBC programme debating the purpose of archaeology in which Jacquetta also took part.  Her position, as stated in her famous 1968 Antiquity article “The Proper Study of Mankind”, was that the scientific approach in archaeology was becoming too dominant. Scientific methods were needed, but Jacquetta argued for the use of imagination and synthesis, for consideration of the religious and aesthetic lives of past civilisations.  The article and the programme were part of a great debate about the purpose of archaeology in the late 1960s and 1970s as archaeologists engaged with the ideas of Binford and others wishing to transform archaeological methods.

(The links to Antiquity will only work for subscribing organisations, apologies to those who cannot access them).


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