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In Appreciation of Claude Warren and Susan Rose's "William Pengelly's Techniques of Archaeological Excavation"

Author:

David L. Browman

Washington University-St. Louis, US
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Abstract

The short (40 pages) pamphlet by Warren and Rose (1994) provides the answer to a complex question regarding credit for an important archaeological methodology, stratigraphic excavation. Let me set the stage for this appreciation.

Continuing research on the beginnings of stratigraphic excavations in North America (Browman and Givens 1996), I sought the origins of the idea of actually excavating by strata, rather than post-facto interpretation, seen in North American as early as 1895 in the work of Henry Chapman Mercer, but not really introduced into the repertoire of American techniques until the work of Gamio, Kidder and Nelson between 1911 and 1914. The roots of the latter three seemed to lie with individuals such as Reisner, Boas, Uhle, who in turn seemed to rely on Hugo Obennaier, Gabriel de Mortillet, Marcellin Boule, and perhaps Pitt-Rivers, while Mercer's work could be traced to Boule and Albert Gaudry.

Doggedly following back the roots, I found that Chapman (1989) could make a reasonable case that Pitt-Rivers had actually learned of the idea of strati­graphic excavation from Evans, Prestwich, and Lubbock, from the British scientists working with the Upper and Middle Paleolithic excavations during 1858-1868.
How to Cite: Browman, D.L., (1997). In Appreciation of Claude Warren and Susan Rose's "William Pengelly's Techniques of Archaeological Excavation". Bulletin of the History of Archaeology. 7(2), pp.31–34. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/bha.07204
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Published on 20 Nov 1997.
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