About this series
The concept for the publication series, Fundamental Issues in Archaeology, is a focus on critical issues in archaeological thought and research. The mission for the series originates in a growing awareness and concern that archaeology must actively pursue, contribute, and collaborate in the development of knowledge and concepts concerning human society. Our discipline has for years begged and borrowed from many fields a variety of useful and appropriate ideas and theories concerning the social, political, economic, and ideological aspects of human society. Traditionally, much of the theory for our archaeological perspectives has come directly from social and cultural anthropology and its foundation in ethnography. The description of the enormous variety of human society from all parts of the world and comparison of commonalities and contrasts over the 20th century fostered an explosion of questions and answers in ethnology and other social sciences about the variability and nature of human society, such as how are humans are able to coalesce and cooperate in such large-scale groups. However, the age of discovery and exploration of the surface of the earth is coming to an end. To a large degree, cultural anthropology has turned to other areas of human behavior. Ethnography, especially among nonindustrialized peoples, is much less a focus than in previous decades.
On the other hand, archaeological information has grown rapidly over the last 75 years. The findings of this research and the questions that frame those discoveries must be informed by a larger body of interdisciplinary theory on the operation and change of past and present human societies. Conceptual frameworks can be woven together and constructed from diverse domains in the biological, social, and historical sciences as well as generated directly by archaeologists. In fact, archaeology is becoming a wellspring of thinking on variation and change in human social formations and how they have interacted with the environments in which they have lived. Investigators draw on reexaminations of ethnographic accounts, documentary histories, architectural studies, social network analysis, ecology, biology, political science, economic sociology, and the comparative analysis of archaeological materials. We see this comparative and global investigation of human diversity to represent one logical outgrowth from the traditional foundation and aims of holistic anthropology as defined by Franz Boas and others at the beginning of the 20th century.
Fundamental Issues in Archaeology, then, is a series of publications focusing on current, critical issues of broad relevance in archaeology. The thrust of the volumes is topical and comparative, rather than methodological; we concentrate on thematic issues of broad range and relevance, rather than techniques or descriptive syntheses. We aim to publish both monographs and edited volumes that are aimed at basic questions of archaeological theory and research relevant to understanding the human past. We welcome manuscripts and suggestions for the evolution of Fundamental Issues.