Introduction to the Thematic Section
AbstractThe papers in this thematic section were originally presented in two venues. Approximately half of the contributions were delivered first in a session at the Annual Meeting of the Central States Anthropological Society in Indianapolis, Indiana in March, 1995. The full complement of presentations took place at the 94th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Washington, D.C., in November, 1995. Two participants in the Washington symposium chose not to include their papers in this section. A number of the papers have thus benefitted from several stages of discussion and criticism. While anthropologists (and especially archaeologists) dominated both panels, the disciplinary breadth represented by the various members contributed to an invigorating discussion which we now bring to the pages of this journal. In this attempt to reach a broad audience, however, we realize there is the problem of disciplinary specificity, i.e., the particular approaches and data with which scholars deal may not be easily comprehensible to those in other fields. For the current collection, this issue is especially acute for prehistorians, whose focus on the material record and a specialized archaeological terminology may confound some readers. The archaeologists have made efforts to minimize the use of esoteric jargon. In addition, chronological periods are clearly defined in order to fix the temporal setting. While some readers may already be very familiar with the periods in question, we thought it best to err on the side of caution.
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