Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

February 1992


Published in Great Plains Research 2:1 (February 1992), pp. 126-127. Copyright © 1992 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Used by permission.


The first processual studies in archaeology began appearing-and making an impression on the field as a whole-nearly 30 years ago. These studies ushered in a revolution in American archaeology and forever changed how this field is taught and practiced. A great deal of heat was exchanged between the processualists and the traditionists as the new paradigm slowly was accepted into mainstream archaeology. Much of this heat was unfortunately expended uselessly as people spoke past one another both in person and in print. The processual school eventually won the struggle, and such studies today are themselves traditional. Efforts by a new group-the postprocessualists-now are being made to recast the goals of archaeology. These efforts are making headway very slowly, largely, I think, because of the obscure language in which they are broached.