“Alternative Archaeologies” in Historical Perspective

  • Bruce G. Trigger

In 1984, I never imagined that 20 years later I would be participating in an SAA seminar that would select “Alternative Archaeologies: Nationalist, Colonialist, Imperialist” as a point of departure for discussing subsequent developments in archaeology. Since that time, classifications of archaeologies have proliferated. French archaeologists have distinguished “national archaeologies” from “nationalist” ones (Fleury-Ilett 1996) and the term “continental archaeology” has been invented to recognize the deep interest that many European archaeologists share in the prehistory of their continent (Morris 1994:11). “Third World archaeology” has been defined as a type of archaeology that develops in postcolonial nations (Chakrabarti 2001:1191–1193). It has also been observed that countries such as Spain have produced “regional” in addition to, or perhaps instead of, nationalist archaeologies (Díaz-Andreu 1996:86), while David Kojan and Dante Angelo (2005)2 present a powerful regionalist challenge to the official, centralizing narrative of prehistory that grounds Bolivia as a nation state. Matthew Spriggs (1992) writes about “micronational” as well as “regional” and “national” prehistories. Recent studies of Israeli archaeology reveal not one but a growing number of competing archaeologies, each promoting a rival concept of Israeli nationhood (Abu El-Haj 2001; Finkelstein & Silberman 2001).


Archaeological Data World Archaeology Archaeological Interpretation Archaeological Theory Community Archaeology 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce G. Trigger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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