Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

European Contact and Global Expansion (Post-CE 1500): Historical Archaeology

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1365


The mass movement of Europeans outside their continent, beginning in the fifteenth century and the experiences of the native peoples with whom they came into contact, is one of the most important narratives of world history. Historical archaeologists have been engaged in understanding, interpreting, and explaining cross-cultural contact and interaction, especially as it pertains to the post-CE 1500 world, since their field was first formalized as a subfield within archaeology in the late 1960s. Since then, historical archaeologists’ views on cultural contact have changed along with the general theoretical trends of anthropological archaeology and as greater amounts of information have been collected from across the globe.

Historical archaeologists originally tended to interpret cultural contact rather simplistically using acculturation as their guiding theory. Using this perspective, they tended to view the contact process as overwhelmingly unidirectional, meaning that...

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyNew York State MuseumAlbanyUSA