W.C.McKern and the Midwestern Taxonomic Method

Author:   R. Lee Lyman ,  Michael J. O'Brien
Publisher:   The University of Alabama Press
ISBN:  

9780817312213


Pages:   336
Publication Date:   28 February 2003
Format:   Hardback
Availability:   Out of stock   Availability explained
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W.C.McKern and the Midwestern Taxonomic Method


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Overview

This book explains the deep influence of biological methods and theories on the practice of Americanist archaeology by exploring W. C. McKern's use of Linnaean taxonomy as the model for development of a pottery classification system. By the early 20th century, North American archaeologists had found evidence of a plethora of prehistoric cultures displaying disparate geographic and chronological distributions. But there were no standards or algorithms for specifying when a culture was distinct or identical to another in a nearby or distant region. Will Carleton McKern of the Milwaukee Public Museum addressed this fundamental problem of cultural classification beginning in 1929. He modeled his solution--known as the Midwestern Taxonomic Method--on the Linnaean biological taxonomy because he wanted the ability to draw historical and cultural relationships among cultures. McKern was assisted during development of the method by Carl E. Guthe, Thorne Deuel, James B. Griffin, and William Ritchie. This book studies the 1930s correspondence between McKern and his contemporaries as they hashed out the method's nuances. It compares the several different versions of the method and examines the Linnaean biological taxonomy as it was understood and used at the time McKern adapted it to archaeological problems. Finally, this volume reveals how and why the method failed to provide the analytical solution envisioned by McKern and his colleagues and how it influenced the later development of Americanist archaeology.

Full Product Details

Author:   R. Lee Lyman ,  Michael J. O'Brien
Publisher:   The University of Alabama Press
Imprint:   The University of Alabama Press
Dimensions:   Width: 15.60cm , Height: 2.70cm , Length: 23.50cm
Weight:   0.653kg
ISBN:  

9780817312213


ISBN 10:   0817312218
Pages:   336
Publication Date:   28 February 2003
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate ,  Postgraduate, Research & Scholarly
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Availability:   Out of stock   Availability explained
The supplier is temporarily out of stock of this item. It will be ordered for you on backorder and shipped when it becomes available.

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Reviews

(This) is the third in a series of books by Lyman and O'Brien that closely reexamine the contributions of the culture history paradigm to Americanist archaeology. . . . A well-researched, well-written work that covers an under-documented period in American archaeology. Southeastern Archaeology


(This) is the third in a series of books by Lyman and O'Brien that closely reexamine the contributions of the culture history paradigm to Americanist archaeology. . . . A well-researched, well-written work that covers an under-documented period in American archaeology. &#151 Southeastern Archaeology


Author Information

R. Lee Lyman is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Missouri-Columbia and coeditor of Setting the Agenda for American Archaeology, Michael J. O'Brien is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Missouri-Columbia and coeditor of Changing Perspectives on the Archaeology of the Central Mississippi Valley.

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