Archaeological Method and Theory: An Encyclopedia edited by Linda Ellis (2000). Garland Publishing, Inc.
Today is arduous to write about archaeology since controversy dominates in this field as a profession and social practice. Also, people’s multipersonality reflects on archaeologists – many who look great examples at once occur as social monsters and people who damage humanity and science. Most recent examples are C. Smith and A. Whittle who had been thought to be positive personalities in archaeology while at once they had showed up on the social stage as supporters of psychotronic terrorism, fraud and pseudo-science with ability and willing to bully honest gifted scientists by staying on the side of corruption, crime and dishonesty. Then, one should be ready always to disappoint from archaeologists, but also to acknowledge the contributions to humanity of those who still look dedicated, gifted and honest scientists.
Since Claire Smith’s Encyclopedia of Global archaeology (2014) probably will become cited mostly in the c.v. of selected by her authors and it will be discussed mostly the moral and ethics of this book, it is time to turn to the solid academic contributions of archaeology to science and first of all to recall Linda Ellis’ Archaeological Method and Theory: An Encyclopedia (2000).
Linda Ellis is a name-legend in contemporary archaeology since she was the American who had interest in the Balkan and Eastern European prehistory in the later period of communist regimes. Seeing an American in Sofia in 1980s was like a sun on the sky for some young archaeologists who were under the corrupted terrifying pressure of the communist-archaeologists being a subject of bullying, psychotronic terrorism and false rumors in order to be removed from the archaeological profession and to leave the space only for corrupted young archaeologists committed to reproduction of the communist corruption and crime.
The nice side of Linda Ellis has been that she was not only smart looking young American archaeologist interested in Eastern Europe, but also thanks to her intellectual abilities, solid knowledge and academic professionalism, Ellis produced quality science without any sign of compromise - almost a hero in compare to some post-1998 western collaborators with East who contribute to reproduction of crime and corruption instead revealing them.
In 2000 Linda Ellis published edited by her Encyclopedia (Archaeological Method and Theory: An Encyclopedia) but this book did not give her the top leading position in the American archaeology which she probably has desired. However, she has remained the bright light in California choir of social activists-archaeologists or money-spenders without quality results (Conkey-Tringham syndrome) and for sure if young archaeologists follow her example, the American archaeology will become much more meaningful and valuable for the contemporary culture.
To agree or disagree, the young people have also a chance to read Linda Ellis’ insights into archaeological ceramics in published Archaeological Guide for students. Archaeology in Practice: A Student Guide to Archaeological Analyses (2006).
The published summary of Ellis’ Encyclopedia:
This Encyclopedia brings together the most recent scientific information on a collection of subjects that are too often - and inconveniently - treated in separate publications. It provides a survey of archaeological method and theory, as well as the application of physical and biological sciences in archaeological research. Every aspect of archaeological work is represented, from the discovery process to the ultimate disposition of materials. Thus the reader will find entries on subject matter covering: * disciplinary theory * legislation affecting the work of archaeologists * pre-excavation surveying * excavation methodology * on-site conservation techniques * post-excavation analysis The rapid evolution of analytical technology is often superficially treated or not covered at all in textbooks or other commonly available sources. Here, the latest refinements in techniques such as radiometric dating, stable isotopic analysis, and the PCR technique of DNA analysis are presented clearly and authoritatively. The discussion of these techniques is amplified by including results of the work of professionals conducting interdisciplinary research and by covering the methodologi enhancements provided by the physical and natural sciences. Cultural property legislation, regardless of its country of origin, has affected how archaeologists conduct their work. This encyclopedia covers all major U.S. legislation developed for the protection of cultural property, including the recent Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and offers a substantial article on worldwide legislation concerning the reburial of human remains and its effects on the present and future practice of archaeology. Without some sort of conservation program at the point of excavation, valuable materials may be inadvertently contaminated or destroyed. Many simple and low-cost techniques to promote both sample integrity and long-term preservation for major classes of materials are described in this volume. Traditional treatments of method and theory usually focus on prehistoric periods and are limited in their geographic range. This volume includes discussions based on various historical periods on different continents, as reflected in entries such as Historical Archaeology, Industrial Archaeology, Medieval Archaeology, and Classical Archaeology.
As the head of the museum studies department, she is a very hands on teacher, not one for tests. She is friendly, has a good sense of humor, and is accommodating. Plus, she has a delightful British accent.
Comment on the video: Ophelia Dahl is probably lucky that she did not become an archeologist since archaeology today is not about digging but about preservation of past and development of theory of cultural values in society.