Excavating communities: Lewis R. Binford and the interpretation of the archaeological record in Illinois

Thomas E. Emerson, Dale L. McElrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Lewis Binford’s contributions to field archaeology have been largely ignored in favor of his many contributions to theoretical issues dominating the discipline of archaeology at the end of the twentieth century. We examine Binford’s excavation methods in southern Illinois in the early 1960s and demonstrate how his considered approach served to systematize large-scale site excavation procedures. He adopted the time-honored tool of the salvage archaeologist—heavy equipment—and unapologetically employed it in a fundamentally new way, proving it to be a tool that served the greater goals of archaeological research. We trace the development of field methods and theoretical approaches in two case studies of Illinois archaeology and demonstrate how Binford’s contributions have been incorporated or rejected by subsequent CRM researchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-265
Number of pages22
JournalMidcontinental Journal of Archaeology
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Keywords

  • Archaeological History
  • Binford
  • CRM
  • Field Methods
  • Large-scale Excavations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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