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The Great Paleolithic WarHow Science Forged an Understanding of America's Ice Age Past$
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David J. Meltzer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226293226

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226293363.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

A Study in Controversy

A Study in Controversy

(p.1) Chapter One A Study in Controversy
The Great Paleolithic War

David J. Meltzer

University of Chicago Press

Historians of science find controversies to be fertile ground, though few have explored controversies within the history of archaeology. This chapter briefly introduces the dispute over human antiquity: when and why it emerged, and how efforts to resolved it rippled across multiple disciplines and decades. It explains the twofold approach to be taken in the book: to provide a detailed historical narrative of the controversy, and to explore the broader themes, processes and context of the dispute and its resolution. Accordingly, it explains why the focus is not just on the empirical, methodological and theoretical issues in dispute, though these weigh heavily throughout, for by the end empirical and conceptual knowledge was gained (albeit through many fits and starts) and a Pleistocene-age site was recognized for what it was. Nor as this chapter explains is the focus on any one person, site, institution or discipline, but instead on the interdisciplinary community of scientists who over several generations coalesced around the problem and sought to resolve it, for this problem demanded an interdisciplinary answer. And it identifies the historiographic methods used and the body of data tapped in undertaking this study, and the scope and structure of the volume.

Keywords:   narrative, historiographic method, interdisciplinary, data of history

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