sonya atalay colonial history, western lens Archaeology includes the study of artifacts and other aspects of material culture but is more importantly about people--understanding people's daily lives, their sense of place in the world, the food they ate, their art, their spirituality, and their political and social organization. In piecing together multiple lines of evidence, including written documents, oral histories, analytical data from artifacts and ecofacts, and a range of regional and local environmental evidence, archaeologists attempt to write the stories of the past. Stated simply, archaeology is one of many tools utilized for understanding the past. However, when placed in its proper historical context, it is clear that the discipline of archaeology was built around and relies upon Western knowledge systems and methodologies, and its practice has a strongly colonial history.1 Many archaeologists have come to recognize that archaeology is based on, and generally reflects, the values of Western cultures.2 In privileging the material, scientific, observable world over the spiritual, experiential, and unquantifiable aspects of archaeological sites, ancient peoples, and artifacts, archaeological practice demonstrates that it is solidly grounded in Western ways of categorizing, knowing, and interpreting the world. However, as Indigenous and local groups around the
The American Indian Quarterly – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Jun 9, 2006
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