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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Southwest archaeology is oddly ahistorical. Since the turn of the nineteenth century, the development of the field led away from history and toward process: first, the anthropological processes by which the ethnographic Pueblos evolved; and second (with New and Processual archaeology), the processes evident in the Southwest that could, shorn of historical background clutter, apply universally. For most of the twentieth century, attempts at narrative history were dismissed as “just-so stories.” It is now recognized that the Southwest in fact did have history—a narrative specific to the Southwest, with many events having little to do with ethnographic Pueblos. The derision of history as “just-so stories” seems hard to shake, while residual scientism imposes inappropriate and impossible standards of proof. This chapter reviews the checkered history of history in Southwest archaeology, and suggests some ways to understand the narrative history of the pre-Hispanic Southwest.

Keywords: archaeology, anthropology, ethnography, Southwest, Pueblo, pre-Hispanic

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