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Reading: A New Deal for Southeastern Archaeology, by Edwin A. Lyon, The University of Alabama Press

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A New Deal for Southeastern Archaeology, by Edwin A. Lyon, The University of Alabama Press

Author:

Gordon R. Willey

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, US
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Abstract

In the 1950s, the Era of the Great Depression, archaeology in the United States enjoyed an enormous boost, both in the substance of its findings on the Precolumbian past and in the development of its methods and proce­dures. Edwin A. Lyon has laid out the story of all this in a book that is a major contribution to the history of the archaeological discipline in this country.

The context of this story is in the American South, most specifically the Southeastern United States, or the 'Old South', that part of the country that was the heart of the Confederacy; and it is important to remember that the South has had a history significantly separate and distinct from that of the rest of the nation. This separateness, rooted in its plantation economy and the associated institution of slavery, was further fostered by the Civil War and its aftermath of hardships. These hardships lasted until the 1930s and the economic depression when they began to be ameliorated by the Rooseveltian political and socioeconomic measures known collectively as the
'New Deal' .

The policies of the New Deal began those transformations which continued through World War II and beyond. Crucial to these transformations were the building of power dams and rural electrification, soil erosion control and agricultural modernization, and a host of public building programs. All of this went forward with Federal Relief employment. Less tangible but nonetheless important benefits were in the cultural sphere: the arts, drama, writing. history - and of particular importance to us here. archaeology.
How to Cite: Willey, G.R., (1996). A New Deal for Southeastern Archaeology, by Edwin A. Lyon, The University of Alabama Press. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology. 6(1), pp.19–21. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/bha.06105
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Published on 20 May 1996.

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