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date: 27 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article reviews briefly the contours of theories applied now and in the recent past to the study of hunter-gatherers in North America. It begins with what have been arguably the dominant theories of the past 50 years, namely those that can be glossed as “ecological” approaches, and then reviews alternatives to ecological theory which bend interpretation toward social reproduction, symbolic action, and the generative nature of culture. The article emphasizes here that these are not mutually exclusive bodies of theory, as some recent efforts to historicize ecological perspectives verge on the humanistic approaches of alternative theory.

Keywords: hunter-gatherer, North American archaeology, archaeological theories, ecological theory, social reproduction, symbolic action

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