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No longer from another planet

  • Bruce Trigger

Over half of Leo Klejn's monograph-length article constitutes what might be described as an ethnography of Western archaeology; more particularly an armchair ethnography written from the perspective of Leningrad. Western archaeologists will inevitably react to it in much the same manner as native peoples react to ethnographic studies of their cultures. They may admire the industriousness and intelligence of the ethnographer and grudgingly admit that he perceived things about them of which they were unaware. Yet they remain convinced that in some significant way he failed to comprehend the inner spirit of their culture or to appreciate sufficiently its merits. At its healthiest, this feeling constitutes a challenge to understand one's own culture better. Klejn's monograph surveys developments in theory and method in archaeology between 1960 and 1973 in the Soviet Union, Central and Western Europe, and the United States. No attempt is made to consider trends in China, Latin America, or elsewhere in the Third World. Klejn's aims are three-fold : bibliographical, historical, and critical. Although he denies that his presentation is sufficiently detailed to constitute genuine scientific criticism, his evaluations of recent trends in the development of archaeological theory influence his historical interpretations and enhance the interest and value of the entire study.

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Binford, L. R. 1967. Comment, Current Anthropology, VIII, 234-5.
Binford, L. R. 1977. General introduction, in (ed.), Binford, L. R., For theory building in archaeology (New York), 1-10.
Childe, V. G. 1947. History (London).
Daniel, G. 1950. A hundred years of archaeology (London).
Dragadze, T. 1978. A meeting of minds: a Soviet and Western dialogue, Current Anthropology, XIX, 119-28.
Klejn, L. S. 1977a. A panorama of theoretical archaeology, Current Anthropology, XVM, 1-42.
Klejn, L. S. 1977b. Theoretical archaeology: Klejn’s corrections, Current Anthropology, XVM, 371-3.
Wheatley, P. 1971. The pivot of the four quarters (Edinburgh).
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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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