Few scientific disciplines have been as ruinously politicized as archaeology. One might think the ancient past far removed from today’s squabbles. Does it matter which long-dead warrior walked these woods, which basket-laden woman once headed up that arroyo? A few people, driven by scientific curiosity, might want to pursue the clues, but the answers are purely “academic” in the sense that they have no obvious direct bearing on the world we live in today. Archaeologists pursue knowledge for knowledge’s sake. At least they used to.

Few scientific disciplines have been as ruinously politicized as archaeology.

Today archaeology meets several crosscurrents. Among them is the effort to pin down the causes of our own cultural collapse. In their analyses,...

 

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