Bruce Graham Trigger— 1991 James R. Wiseman Book Award

Award Citation:

The Archaeological Institute of America is proud to honor Bruce Graham Trigger with the James R. Wiseman Book Award for his major contribution to the field, A History of Archaeological Thought.

Archaeology as a formal academic discipline is at least a century and a half old. Its researches have now been pursued m all parts of the world. Its goals and purposes have been many, changing with times and places, yet all of these are linked by the central deme of knowing the past, especially that ancient past that wholly or in large part lies before written history. In the last few decades, a critical consideration of these goals and purposes has come increasingly to the fore in archaeological thinking and writing. As someone has said: "The age of innocence for archaeology is over.” We now question what we do and how and why we do it. While some archaeological practitioners may have little patience with these critical concerns, preferring instead to "get on with the job," we cannot in the long run avoid such questions and doubts. To face them intelligently, we need histories of archaeology, and it is not too much to say that Bruce Trigger has written the best intellectual history of the discipline to date.

Trigger's A History of Archaeological Thought is worldwide in its scope, and it goes back to the beginnings of archaeological interests and pursuits. It is both an "internal history," examining the specifics of the practices of archaeology and prehistory in place and in time, and an "external history" in that it attempts to show us how and why archaeologists performed as they did and, in so doing, addresses the national, political, and social backgrounds in which archaeology developed. As such, Trigger, expectably, has written a controversial book with his reviewers differing with him on a variety of issues; however, all have recognized the wisdom and experience that Trigger has brought to this daunting and enormous task.

Bruce Trigger has carried out archaeological researches in East Africa and the northeastern United States. He brings an anthropological perspective to archaeology, both in his fieldwork and in his theoretical writings. Over the past 20 years, he has had few peers in his insightful and incisive writings in archaeological method and theory. His selection for this award by the Archaeological Institute of America is a recognition of his eminence as an archaeologist of world stature.

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