Thursday 17 October 2013

100 years ago: Walter W. Taylor born

Walter Willard Taylor Jr. was born to Walter Sr. and Marjorie Wells Taylor in Chicago, Illinois, on October 17, 1913.
In his 1948 work A Study of Archeology, recently minted Harvard Ph.D. Walter W. Taylor delivered the strongest and most substantial critique of American archaeology ever published. He created many enemies with his dissection of the research programs of America's leading scholars, who took it as a personal affront. Taylor subsequently saw his ideas co-opted, his research pushed to the margins, and his students punished. Publicly humiliated at the 1985 Society for American Archaeology meeting, he suffered ridicule until his death in 1997. Nearly everyone in the archaeological community read Taylor's book at the time, and despite the negative reaction, many were influenced by it. Few young scholars dared to directly engage and build on his "conjunctive approach," yet his suggested methods nevertheless began to be adopted and countless present-day authors highlight his impact on the 1960s formation of the "New Archaeology."

Allan Maca, William Folan, and Jonathan Reyman(eds) 2010: 'Prophet, Pariah and Pioneer: Walter W. Taylor and Dissension in American Archaeology',   University Press of Colorado  ISBN-13: 978-0870819520

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