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Paleoindian Societies of the Coastal Southeast$
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James S. Dunbar

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062686

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062686.001.0001

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date: 22 February 2020

The Context Approach

The Context Approach

(p.229) 7 The Context Approach
Paleoindian Societies of the Coastal Southeast

James S. Dunbar

University Press of Florida

In the concluding chapter, the archaeological context approach is developed. Comprising the contexts of stratigraphy, chronology, climate, habitat, resource availability, subsistence, artifacts, and the technological aspects of tool manufacture, the context approach is a holistic one that compartmentalizes the interrelated aspects of the archaeological and paleontological record. Armed with this approach, American Paleoindian archaeology is better able to judge which former paradigms are outdated and can, hopefully, be set aside. The Clovis First paradigm, for example, has long stymied archaeologists. A new paradigm is emerging that suggests Paleoindians first arrived in the Americas around sixteen thousand years ago, even though numerous archaeological sites purported to be older do exist. These older sites include, mainly, the Miller complex sites of the Eastern Seaboard and the mammoth butcher sites of the mid-continental United States. I believe a regional approach to Paleoindian archaeology in the Americas is the most productive one. No longer do we need to look to one region of this continent to judge the validity of another region or of its archaeological sites. Humans and nature are far too complex to be understood using predetermined paradigms. A regional approach that utilizes multidisciplinary partnerships and compiled data should be chosen over speculative lines drawn in the sand.

Keywords:   stratigraphy, chronology, climate, habitat, resources, subsistence, artifacts, technology, tools, paradigms

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