Think Globally, Dig Locally

  • Charles E. OrserJr.
Part of the Contributions to Global Historical Archaeology book series (CGHA)


I argue in this book that historical archaeologists study the creation and constant re-creation of the modern world. To make this study, I contend that historical archaeologists should adopt a global perspective that unambiguously understands the significance of past networks of interaction. On one level, my position is difficult to argue against. Few practicing historical archaeologists would ever propose that they should unfairly restrict their investigations. In fact, I suspect that most historical archaeologists would readily acknowledge the need to think in big terms when examining the past. Not many would chose to turn a blind eye to any body of information that would help them to establish the contexts of the sites they study. Historical archaeology is blessed with a wide array of potential source materials, and most historical archaeologists readily embrace the variety. Nonetheless, many archaeologists also may argue that they can focus only on individual communities when they conduct excavations. In many cases, the very specificity of these excavations can cause the exclusion of the wider contexts that extend far beyond the site’s perceived boundaries (Chapter 2).


Modern World Historical Archaeologist Archaeological Research Hermeneutic Circle Effective Scale 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles E. OrserJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Illinois State UniversityNormalUSA

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