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Working through theoretical tensions in contemporary archaeology: A practical attempt from southwestern Colorado

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Abstract

Archaeology should actively combine different paradigms to obtain a more complete understanding of the past. This paper argues for a practical combination of elements of the culture-historical, processual, and postprocessual approaches into a two-tier model. The first tierreconstructs the events of the past, using culture-historical and middle-range principles, and the secondconstructs a reflexive explanation of these events, which situates an analysis of the internal and external constraints on past human behavior within the specific theoretical and political positions of the analyst. The theoretical arguments are developed by means of an analysis of the prehistory of a segment of the mountains of southwestern Colorado.

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Duke, P. Working through theoretical tensions in contemporary archaeology: A practical attempt from southwestern Colorado. J Archaeol Method Theory 2, 201–229 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02229007

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Key words

  • archaeological theory
  • American Southwest
  • North American Indians