Wednesday, April 13, 2011

blogging Binford

In wake of Lewis Binford's death, I've been thinking about his legacy. What were his most important publications? I believe Constructing Frames of Reference will be seen as his magnum opus, but his co-edited (with Sally Binford) volume New Perspectives in Archaeology, probably had more impact on the direction of the field as a whole.

In my work, I most frequently cited his "Post-Pleistocene Adaptations" (1968) article, or "Willow Smoke and Dogs' Tails" (1980). The work that was most influential to me, though, was Bones: Ancient Men and Modern Myths, not for the actual data, which doesn't do much for a neolithicist, but for his approach to data and myth-busting.

Not everyone felt or appreciated the legacy of Lewis Binford. One of my graduate professors excoriated him in class on a regular basis, because "those utility indices as stuff are just worthless." (I'm sure they are, to someone whose primary research is on Southwestern pottery.) But for those of us in the environmentally-focused branches of the field, he had a profound influence, whether or not you follow in his theoretical footprints.

1968 New Perspectives in Archaeology. Co-edited with S.R. Binford, Aldine Publishing Company, Chicago.

1968 Post-Pleistocene Adaptations. In New Perspectives in Archaeology. Co-edited with S.R. Binford, pp. 313-341. Aldine Publishing Company, Chicago.

1978 Nunamiut Ethnoarchaeology. Academic Press, New York.

1980 Willow Smoke and Dogs' Tails: Hunter-Gatherer Settlement Systems and Archaeological Site Formation. American Antiquity 45:4-20.

1981 Bones: Ancient Men & Modern Myths. Academic Press, London.

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