THE MODERN PERIOD, (1960-1992)
THE NEW ARCHAEOLOGY
Ford G I Q . bformer students of
Whi ' ,. .
uim y, and W.
Haag-allsearches had I be te s-:-were among the authors. Ford's field re-ong en gmded by evolutionary rec . th::~a:~::nd:~r~ ~:~icit ~ord, 1962) Quimby (1~60a)~~~d
White's evolutio arc aeologlc.al and ethnological-in combiningattempt to expla.narythperspective with environmental determinism tom e nature of north
North ArneriHaag, in a critical review article "Th e;ts
cultures.American Archaeolo ," offered e.
gists: "Evolution ischgy. f a definition of evolution for archaeolo-culture and any bodilangem. orm and function through time of materialy acts Ideas and .therefrom" (Haa 1959 ' , sentiments that may be inferredlong been a part ~f A ' pp. 96-97). He went on to say that evolution had
archaeology b .serous level. ' ut essentially on a subcon-Willey, in an article publish d .toward an evolutionary Ike m 1960, moved somewhat farther evolution are
by stating that the processes of culturalve ones and
thr htheir survival and
a , oug these, humans promoteImentHec
d by which this comes be t· au ione ,however, that the coursesa u are not "and further observed th t hi programmed by laws of inevitably"a
w Ie technical .seem easy to plot on a hi
ISoncal-evolutiogical realm (art) are
onary scale, those of the ideo-no.Old World archaeological and e .make themselves felt in A . volutionaj-v influences also began to
Braidwood, althou h mhencanarchaeology at about this time. Robert
like WIlley .onceivs of cultural e I ti ' was somewhat hesitant tovo u on as a p .contexts, had viewed N rocess outside of specific historical(B. ear Eastern prehi
raIdwood, 1948 1952) H. s ory in an evolutionary light. ,. e like most thgists, had been infIuen db' h
er Near Eastern archaeolo-. ce ytearch I·mgs of
I aeo ogical and evolutionary writ-theorv
e. n 1959 h tr d .eery
archaeology. ' e ace the history of evolutionaryh m a summary
I· .on t e Old World but . h
e, focusmg attention mainlyh ,Wit some ref ow Darwinian co erences to the New and showingncepts as a
d ' .early De Mortillet us pp e to culture had changed from the1959) ages to those f Chi!
de and others (Braidwood,A former student of B .dWorld and Americanist.d raJ Wood's, Robert Adams, brought Oldgether by researching. MIeas about cultural evolution even closer
. hi m esopotam· d .mg s attention in both la an Middle America and direct-t d areas to theere societies to those f h quantum advance from temple-cen-Pr~cessinEarlYCiVilizat~on:"e(1~:aan) states. In his "The EvolutionaryWlttfogel, arguing that ca I I :Adams was critical of Steward andstage definitions and cro usalre ahonships cannot
established byss-cu tural .compansons alone. He challengedsingle-explanation hypotheses, such as Steward's (see, for instance,1949a) belief that population pressure led to warfare or Wittfogel's (1957)insistence that the administrative requirements of large-scale irrigation produced the despotic state. The only way to avoid self-contained causaltheories, in Adams' view, was to recognize the complexity and interde- pendence of events leading up to major stage transformations and to present these to the greatest possible range of historical detail. Herecogruzed no inherent opposition between cultural-historical integra-non and evolutionism, Adams called for two things, one of which wehave referred to before. This is the necessity for contextual-functionalanalysis as an intermediate step between chronological ordering and processual understanding. The other, which is implicit but not explicit~ Adams' writings, is systemic analysis-the only way in which thecomplexity and interdependence of events," in Adams' terms, may beViewed m their proper relationships to one another.Adams' major work along these lines - and one in which he fol-lowed up his call for full historical and contextual detail- is his brilliant
The Evolution of Urban Socieiv: Early Mesopotamia and Prehispanic Mexico
(1966). In it, he traces with great care the parallel evolution of twosocieties, one in the Old World and one in the New World, from kin- based farming villages to stratified, politically organized states. WhileAdams rejected any single-principle explanation of cultural evolution,Steward (1966, p. 730) in reviewing his work, felt that "the author hasdocumented the incipiency of crop improvement, better utilization of microenvironments, and increased specialization and interdependencyof local population segtnents as the new processes or trends that led tostate institutions." Certainly, by 1966, the date of the publication of Adams' book, it was the outstanding example of the cross-culturalcomparative approach to an understanding of cultural evolution, theonly such attempt in which there had been a microanalysis of thearchaeological (and ethnohistorical) data bearing on the cases at hand.Bythe late 1960s, a change had taken place in American archaeology.There had been a tacit acceptance of cultural evolution. Any repre-sentative sampling of the then recent American archaeological literature,with its strong reliance on the ideas of White and Steward and theyounger cultural evolutionists among the social anthropologists, suchas Sahlins, Service, and Fried, bears this out. For example, in the four issues of the journal
that were published in 1971,there was a total of 16 references (in 21 articles) to the theoretical worksof these five men. A decade earlier, the four issues of the 1960-61 volumecontained orIly two references to Steward (in 28articles) and none to anyof the other four authors. This swift and quiet change is one of the mostinteresting phenomena of the Modem Period.