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The Past is Underground: Archaeology and the Search for Indian History

The Past is Underground: Archaeology and the Search for Indian History

Chapter:
(p.116) 4 The Past is Underground: Archaeology and the Search for Indian History
Source:
History's Shadow
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226115115.003.0004

The development of American archaeology across the nineteenth century roughly paralleled that of language study. American archaeology struggled to establish an identity and legitimacy for itself against the developments of archaeology in the Old World. In addition, the study of Native America through objects buried underground began as a search for Indian history within the chronological frameworks of the Bible. By the century's end, while archaeology in Europe was seen as a part of the historical discipline, in the United States it became part of the largely ahistorical concerns of anthropology. And just as the development of linguistics had a profound impact on how Indian languages were studied, and thus on how their speakers were perceived, so too the path of Indian archaeology from history to anthropology led to certain ways of understanding the native past and away from others.

Keywords:   Native Americans, American archaeology, Indian history, Old World, anthropology, native past

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