Augusto Oyuela-Caycedo, ed. History of Latin American Archaeology. Aldershot, Hampshire, England and Brookfield, Vt.: Avebury, 1994. xii + 212 pp. $59.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-85628-714-2.
Reviewed by Charles C. Kolb (National Endowment for the Humanities)
Published on H-LatAm (March, 1997)
This volume, designed for the English-speaking academic reader and students of archaeology, is organized into two parts. Part I, entitled "Archaeology and the State," contains eight chapters--one on the topic of nationalism and archaeology and seven chapters on the individual nation-state histories of archaeology in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela. These seven contributions illustrate the relationships between the state and archaeology spatially and temporally. In Part II, "Other Histories of Latin American Archaeology," the editor has assembled four topical chapters concerned, respectively, with maize, lithics, the contributions of the late Donald Lathrap, and the interface of ethnology and archaeology.
The corpus of essays derive from a larger symposium organized by Oyuela-Caycedo and held during the meeting of the International Congress of Americanists at Tulane University in New Orleans, La. in 1990. Several significant contributions that were presented orally could not be included in the present publication (p. xi), notably J. Roberto Barcena's essay on Central and West Argentina and Omar Ortiz-Troncoso's report on Patagonia, both now published elsewhere. Five other contributions to the symposium were not submitted for publication, including works by Ana Arias Quiros, Tom D. Dillehay, Richard E. Dragget, Carl H. Lagebaeck, and Ernesto Salazar. The Smithsonian Institution has recently published Dillehay's Monte Verde: A Late Pleistocene Settlement in Chile, Vol. 2: The Archaeological Context and Interpretation (1997) into which he incorporates materials from the 1990 symposium.
These 13 published contributions provide an historical context for contemporary discussions and arguments about the theoretical and methodological directions that archaeology as currently practiced in Latin America is taking or should pursue in the future. One goal of this compendium is to provide a factual, dispassionate discourse on the history of the discipline so that scholars and students can understand the historical contexts for these geopolitical areas and the nature of contemporary research. Latin American field research and method, and theory and interpretation have expanded dramatically during the past two decades, particularly as archaeologists born and educated in Latin American nations provide new field data, technical laboratory analyses, and excellent interpretations and paradigms about past human behavior--especially social history.
The contributors to this volume are either native specialists from each country or North Americans who have had a long tradition of study and research in and possess specialized knowledge of the region or topic. An examination of the credentials of the 14 contributors reveals that nearly all currently have, or had in the past, affiliations with the Latin American Center at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa., and/or with Jeremy A. Sabloff who wrote the foreward to this book. Jerry Sabloff was the Chairman of the Department of Anthropology at Pittsburgh until his appointment in 1994 as The Charles K. Williams II Director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia. Gordon R. Willey and Sabloff are authors of The History of American Archaeology (San Francisco: Freeman), now in its third edition (1994).
A second goal of the book is to correct misrepresentations and errors that appear in the so-called "first world" literature about the history of Latin America (p. ix). In this context the authors strive to "present points of view from across the cultural boundaries" (p. ix). The authors also wish to create an alternative view to the synchronic comparison between states and nations that will aid in understanding the transformations that the discipline experiences through time and space. Therefore, the contributors seek to broaden the perspectives of the developments of archaeology previously ignored by the literature, and contribute to the social context within which archaeology develops.
I shall review the primary contents of each of the chapters prior to an evaluation on the volume.
Chapter 1, "Nationalism and Archaeology: A Theoretical Perspective," by Augusto Oyuela-Caycedo (Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh), 19 pp., 73 references. The author emphasizes that the study of archaeology is not independent of political ideologies and considers initially several issues related to the history of the discipline. Bruce Trigger's Nationalist Archaeology model (1984, 1989, 1990) and other paradigms, such as World-System Theory, are reviewed. Trigger's typology, which includes nationalist, colonialist, and imperialist alternatives (each one interrelated with the other), contends that the social context of each nation state in a world system economy is what produces different types of archaeology. In brief, nationalist archaeologists are promoters of states and bolster the pride and morale of nations or ethnic groups. Colonialist archaeology developed in those countries whose native populations were replaced or subjugated by European settlement or where Europeans remained politically and economically dominant for a long period of time. Colonial archaeologists emphasized the primitiveness of the native population. Imperialist or world archaeology is associated with a small number of states that exerted political dominance over large areas of the world. Trigger's model is criticized for failing to account for local variations and its narrow perspective on the issue.
Oyuela-Caycedo also discusses the concepts of states, nations, nation-states, nationalism, nationalistic movements, cultural diversity, nationalist ideology, and patriotism. He reviews the basic concepts embodied in a methodologically arbitrary, three-phase, non-linear paradigm (proposed by Hroch in 1985 and refined by Hobsbawm in 1990), which has three phases: Phase A, the period of scholarly interest; Phase B, the period of agitation; and Phase C, the period of mass national movement. Lastly, Oyuela-Caycedo devises a non-linear developmental multi-phase model which illustates the different phases of the relationship between the state and archaeology, and between nationalist ideology and archaeology. Phase A: Proto-State Archaeology (corresponding to Hroch's Phase A) is suggested when archaeology does not have significant support by the state, is conducted in the main by foreigners and entrepreneurial amateurs working in historical archaeology (churches, forts, and houses) and in fine arts conservation or restoration programs (murals, pottery, etc.). Archaeology is peripheral to the interests of the state, unless the state has very attractive archaeological monuments (p. 12). Educational systems emphasize local history, heroes of independence, the external origins of culture, and the "foreign" national language (Spanish or Portuguese). Therefore the cultural interest in archaeology is marginal and elitist, and may enhance tourism. Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize are offered as examples.
In Phase B: State Archaeology (related to Hroch's Phase B), historical cultural particularism is characterized by diversity in degree of development, dynamic changes, middle class elite managers. The state promotes actively the nationalist model of development, founds training schools for archaeologists and anthropologists, develops "information divulgement programs" (museums and school books) and other mass propaganda fostering a "romantic" view of the prehispanic past. Archaeologists work with the support of the state and for the state, and processural archaeology is evident and Marxist archaeology is peripheral. State archaeology is shaped according to economic conditions and the control model adopted by the elite. Mexico, Colombia, and Peru are cited as examples. Phase C: National Archaeology is least known in the development of Latin American archaeology because the discipline has more liberty and independence from the political structure in terms of economic support and ideology. Centralized museums, educational homogeneity, private research institutions, and scientific and academic archaeology (as opposed to state archaeology) are characteristic. Examples include the United States, Germany, France, and England, and Japan, but no Latin American countries.
Chapter 2, "Brazil: Tendencies and Growth," by Pedro Ignacio Schmitz (Instituto Anchietano de Pesquias, Sao Leopoldo, RS, Brasil), translated by Renee M. Bonzani, 14 pp., 4 references. In a superficial summary, the author emphasizes that Brazilian archaeology has a "long way to go" before reaching maturity and homogeneity. Europeans, especially the French, have studied shell mounds, Pleistocene humans, and rock art, while North Americans have emphasized the Archaic period and horticulture. Meggers and Evans's work is cited but, unfortunately, Anna Roosevelt's major research on Paleoindians, hunters, pottery making, and incipient horticulture is not mentioned. Schmitz's summary of five periods of development of Brazilian archaeology is based upon the first edition of Willey and Sabloff's A History of American Archaeology (1974): I: Chroniclers of the Conquest to the naturalist travelers (1500-1858); II: From the first Brazilian archaeologists to the search for lost cities (1858-1889); III: From the popular impulse to the institutionalization of archaeology (1889-1961); IV: On the formal training of class consciousness (1961-1989); and V: The actual situation and perspectives. Archaeology conducted by Brazilian scholars is nascent--the Society for Brazilian Archaeology was founded in 1980 and only 6,000 of the estimated one million Brazilian archaeological sites have been registered. Problems of agricultural and mining activities, lack of rescue archaeology, and the scarcity of Brazilian academic anthropology degree-granting universities are noted. Current research efforts emphasize shell mounds, rock art, Amazonian cultures, Planalto horticulturalists, the Paleoindian period, and Planalto hunters.
Chapter 3, "Chile: Institutional Development and Ideological Context," by Mario A. Rivera (Oak Creek, Wis.) and Mario Orellana R. (Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile), 13 pp., 9 references. The authors suggest four stages of Chilean archaeological history and associated ideological context. The initial stage (1878-1911) is characterized as the first scientific period and emphasized the study of pottery, wood, shell, and stone artifacts--possibly because there were no abundant precious metals in Chilean archaeological sites. In 1878 Chilean naturalists had organized "to study the American antiquities," marking the beginning of professional archaeology. German and French archaeological researchers, ethnographic interest in "Chilean Aborigines, especially the Mapuche," and Darwinian theories and Evolutionism characterize the period. Ricardo Latcham's Antropologia Chilena (1908) and the founding of the Museum of Ethnology and Anthropology in 1911 close the period. The stage from 1911-1945 is marked by Max Uhle's 1911-1922 work on prehistoric cultures which resulted in the development of temporal models. Uhle is also considered to be the founder of Pacific Archaeology (Chile-Peru- Ecuador). The third stage, 1945-1960, witnessed significant interest in settlements and subsistence instead of cemeteries. The works of Chilean researchers (Cornely, Iribarren, and Mostny) and the American, Junius Bird, are noteworthy. With the 1960's, regional museums were established and the following decades were characterized by formal university teaching, field research, model building, and the government funding of archaeo research, but also military-political interventions in university education. The professional Sociedad Chilena de Arqueologia was founded in 1963. The 1990s began a period of academic freedom and, perhaps, a new stage in Chilean archaeological studies. Scientific societies were established in the 1890's rather than the 1990's (a typographical error, p. 37).
Chapter 4, "Colombia: A Quantitative Analysis," by Luis Gonzalo Jaramillo (Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh) and Augusto Oyuela-Caycedo (Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh), 20 pp., 79 references. The history of archaeology in Colombia is affiliated closely with the development of ethnology and is framed in a historical cultural particularist tradition. The authors cite archaeological histories and biographical accounts in their assessment, and limit their essay to the period 1800-1962, although the earliest writings are traced back to 1773. Archaeological literary publications are evaluated from the perspectives of Colombian versus "foreign" production, by geographic region (n = 8) in Colombia, and by research topic for four time periods. During Period I (1800-1920): Times of Amateur Archaeology, there is a gradual shift from an antiquarian emphasis to professionalism, the founding of the Academia Colombiana de Historia and the publication of the Boletin de Historia y Antiguedades. Foreign production accounted for nearly 57 percent of publications, and there was a regional emphasis on Cundinamarca/Santanderes. In Period II (1921-1940): Transitional Period, publication by foreigners remained high (among them are Linne, Mason, and Preuss), and the Alto Magdelena region was an archaeological focus, but the Cauca/Valle/Narino region also became a significant study area. Trends changed dramatically during Period III (1941-1952): Birth of a Nationalist Archaeology, with the founding of the Instituto Etnologico and Museo Arqueologico y Ethnografico Nacional, both initated by the French ethnologist Paul Rivet. Colombians published 64 percent of the literature, and Costa Atlantica because a regional research focus. With Period IV (1953-1962): Critical Years, the academic status of archaeology was realized and marked the founding of the Instituto Colombiano de Antropologia. Research by Reichel-Dolmatoff, Dussan, and Cubillos are notable. Production by geographical region increases in the Llanos Orientales and Amazonas, Choco and Antioquia, and Costa Atlantica. The publication of excavation reports increased through time as do publications on ceramics and metallurgy. The authors relate the patterns of archaeological research and production to major Colombian political and economic events, with a national identity realized during the 1960s.
Chapter 5, "Mexico: The Institutionalization of Archaeology, 1885-1942," by Luis Vazques Leon (Centro de Investigaciones Superiores en Antropologia Social, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico), 21 pp., 73 references. Archaeology as practiced in the United States has three distinct parameters (academic, governmental, and museographic) but in Mexico archaeology is almost completely governmental and only minimally university-based. The author considers the period 1885-1942 and how this distinction occurred, and emphasizes the social basis of national archaeological traditions (following Trigger 1985). Government archaeology may be traced to 1776, but the creation of the Inspectorship of Archaeological Monuments in 1885, initially occupied by Leopold Batres, a close friend of Porfirio Diaz, marks the beginning of the modern era. Major urban site archaeological zones, such as Teotihuacan, Xochicalco, and Monte Alban, were established. The short-lived impact of the Internationaal School of American Archaeology and Ethnology, founded by Eduard Seler and nurtured by Franz Boas, is reviewed. The history of the national museum; Manuel Gamio's contributions to Mexican archaeology, the "burying" of academic archaeology, and the use of the scientific method (stratigraphic excavations); the legacy of the Mexican Revolution; and the establishment of INAH by Alfonso Caso are featured. The political stability of the post-revolutionary governments influenced dramatically archaeological research to the point, the author states, "where Mesoamerica and government archaeology tend to be indistinguishable" (p. 83), and resulting in the founding of the governmental mainstays, the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH) and ENAH, the Escuela Nacional. The period after 1942 is exceedingly complex and, unfortunately, not considered. The author, trained as a sociologist rather than an anthropologist, provides an insightful commentary.
Chapter 6, "Panama: Archaeology, Archaeologists and Recent Developments," by Carlos M. Fitzgerald (Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh), translated by Renee M. Bonzani, 14 pp., 49 references. Panama, as with the rest of Central America, has had a long tradition of archaeological research. Fitzgerald characterizes the period before 1970 as one of Foreign Descriptive Archaeology, with Panamanian government and non-government (Smithsonian Institute (sic.) of Tropical Investigations) competing. The author traces research beginning in 1888 and characterizes the 1914-1940 period as one of large expeditions organized by foreign institutions such as Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. Work at the Sitio Conte cemetery is noted. The Post-War Era (1940-1960) is viewed as transitional with the founding of the Archaeological Society of Panama. The Canal Zone is mentioned as a "colonial enclave of the United States in Panama" (p. 94), and the creation of the Direccion Nacional de Patrimonio Historico in 1969 and decentralization of the Museo Nacional in 1976 are reviewed. In the 1970s archaeology became truly Panamanian with a human ecological and multidisciplinary research character stemming from Smithsonian influence and expecially the work of Olga Linares and Richard Cooke. There is a lengthy treatment of ecologically-oriented archaeology in Panama, the infusion of processural archaeology, and a critique of government archaeology--the lack of archaeologists with academic degrees and near total dependence upon international institutional funding sources (OEA and UNESCO). An emphasis on "origins" research (of maize, ethnic groups, and present-day environment, for example) negates diffusionist explanations about the Panamanian past. Research continues to emphasize the Central Region to the detriment of other areas, a lack of rescue or salvage archaeology, and the need to train a new generation of archaeologists are considered critical points related to the future of Panamanian archaeology.
Chapter 7, "Peru: Some Comments," by Ramiro Matos Mendieta (Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.), translated by Renee M. Bonzani, 20 pp., 55 references. For Andean archaeological investigations, the author points out that researchers should not neglect published and unedited documents of the 16th through 18th centuries, such as the works of Cieza de Leon and Ortiz de Zuniga. Peruvian archaeology dates to the investigations of a German, Max Uhle (1856-1944), and a Peruvian, Julio C. Tello (1880-1947). The former was influenced by classical archaeology, the other by his own indigenous past. The researches by Kroeber, Strong, Larco Hoyle, Bennett, Lothrop, and Murra, among other are noted, as is the founding of the Institute of Andean Investigations of New York in 1973. For research and teaching, John Rowe and Richard Schaedel are singled out. Pioneering work by Gordon Willey in the Viru Valley and by Junius Bird at Huaca Prieta are reviewed, as is the impact of the publication of the Handbook of South American Indians in 1946 which provided a framework for additional research, primarily by foreign missions through the 1960s. From 1950-1970 archaeology was influenced, the author claims, by the history of art (artifact styles, types, etc.), but ceramics and settlement pattern studies were also significant. Important research by Peruvians graduating from University of San Marcos (Lumbreras, Fung, Matos, and Ravines, among others) is documented. During the decades of the 1970s and 1980s the "new" archaeology and multi- and interdisciplinary work progressed, but the Peruvian political and economic climates have contributed to exploitation of the archaeological patrimony (clandestine digging and artifact thefts). The author discusses more than twenty survey or excavation projects conducted by Peruvian, Japanese (Izumi, Shimada, etc.), North American researchers (among them Morris, Parsons, and Dillehay). Marxist and processual archaeologies, and Andean ethnoarchaeology are also considered. Mendieta concludes by suggesting that Peruvian archaeology from ca. 1940-1970 was more "scientific" while after the 1970s "theoretical discourse" seems to be paramount to the presentation of empirical data. A review of research permits issued illustrates the lack of financial aid to Peruvian archaeologists by their federal government--only one in five permits is for a Peruvian national.
Chapter 8, "Venezuela: Doctors, Dictators and Dependency (1932 to 1948)," by Rafael Gasson (Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh) and Erika Wagner (Departamento de Antropologia, I.V.I.C., Caracas, Venezuela), 13 pp., 35 references. This essay is a rendition of a chapter published in Spanish by Gasson and Wagner in 1992. The authors state that, in Latin America, the sciences--including archaeology--have a cultural and scientific dependence upon the great industrialized nations, in particular, the United States, and that Venezuela is not an exception. Before 1930 archaeology in Venezuela was "mainly an intellectual exercise for a cult, non-professional minority" (p. 126), but the 1932-1948 period was characterized by research expeditions by professional U.S. archaeologists employing common policies and paradigms (the introduction of basic techniques and methods, the study of cultural units, and the creation of chronologies and area syntheses). The period coincides with the Roosevelt administration's "Good Neighbor Policy" and the "New Deal." The authors note parallels to U.S. archaeological development, and consider the significant role of Rafael Requena and the work of Steward (editor of the Handbook of South American Indians), Bennett, Kidder II, Osgood, and Howard. In the post-World War II period, Venezuelan archaeology was integrated into a Latin American continental context, data was examined with different methodological perspectives, and the discipline was modernized but became dependent upon U.S. academics. The Museum of Natural Sciences in Caracas was the primary institution devoted to archaeology and provided for coordinated research conducted by its Venezuelan director, Jose Cruxent, and the Yale archaeologist, Irving Rouse, from 1941- 1963. Archaeology declined after 1948 because of changes in the Venezuelan political system.
The four remaining chapters in the compendium treat topical issues and form a corpus distinct from the preceeding contributions.
Chapter 9, "The Changing Approaches to Maize Research," by Christine Hastorf (Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley) 16 pp., 51 references. Hastorf is an internationally-recognized specialist on the biology, paleoethnobotany, and archaeology of maize domestication. Her research covers more than 8,000 years of maize throughout the Americas, from Canada to Chile and Argentina, utilizing ecological approaches and sociocultural paradigms. In her summary Hastorf considers the biological, archaeological, and cultural approaches to maize research as well as topics such as domestication, cultivation, and crop intensification. The accompanying bibliography is an especially useful resource.
Chapter 10, "Some Problems of Theory and Method in Lithic Studies: Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela," by Jack A. Wolford (Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh), 18 pp., 56 references. The author reviews changing trends in the analysis of lithic materials in northern South America since 1950. There has been a change in research emphasis from "when and where" to "how and why"--e.g. behavioral parameters added to spatial-chronological studies. Wolford discusses disjunctions in method and theory, middle range studies, and the major contributions to the literature on lithics in the three nation- states, emphasizing the 1980s. Lithic studies during the long and complex Paleoindian period are summarized admirably but a lack of adequate chronometric dates remains a problem (see Tom Dillehay's Monte Verde site report, cited above, for emendations). The general discussions of lithic studies during the Archaic and the Ceramic periods are too brief, and the chapter concludes with suggestions for future research, including raw material sourcing. The comprehensive list of references includes many important citations in Spanish.
Chapter 11, "The Intellectual Legacy of Donald A. Lathrap," by J. Scott Raymond (Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 10 pp., 43 references. This chapter, written by a former Lathrap student, is a tribute to the pioneering archaeological research conducted in Upper Amazon by the late Don Lathrap since the late 1950s. Lathrap's contributions to tropical forest prehistory, ethnography, ceramic ethnoarchaeology, pottery classification, field methods, and paradigms are critiqued.
Chapter 12, "Ethnology and Archaeology: Symbolic and Systemic Disjunction or Continuity?," by Peter G. Roe (Centro de Investigaciones Indigenas del Puerto Rico, Inc., San Juan; and Department of Anthropology, University of Delaware, Newark, Del.), 26 pp., 108 references. Roe's thought-provoking chapter, accompanied by a splendid bibliography, provides a fitting closure to this volume of diverse essays. He evaluates the impact of ethnology on South Amerindian archaeology during the Pre- and Post-Columbian eras, emphasizes the use of a conservative direct historical approach, and points out problems with the use of ethnographic analogy. The essay concentrates on a few problem areas and cultures or phases, notably Chavin in the central Andes and coast, the early cultures of the montana to the lowlands of early coastal Ecuador, early insular Saladoid cultures of Caribbean Venezuela, and the late prehistory of the Guianas. Roe discusses European contact in the Caribbean and Lower Central America, the Central Andes and Pacific Coast, the eastern lowland basins (Amazon-Orinoco-Essequibo), and coastal and highland Ecuador. He also comments upon the importance of Lathrap's Amazonian research and the concept of "non-man's zones" developed by Warren DeBoer and Tom Myers, two of Lathrap's students. In addition, he reviews Betty Meggers and the late Clifford Evans' views of the tropical forest but not the critiques or new researches published by Anna Roosevelt.
In summary, Augusto Oyuela-Caycedo's History of Latin American Archaeology provides the reader with a historiographic summary of the principal events in archaeology but is, of course, incomplete and has missing aspects or topics. Nonetheless, the contents of this volume allow us to reflect upon the advancements in national archaeology in Latin America, its personages, and methodological and theoretical trends. The seven nation-state chapters are diverse in both their contents and in chronological review. As the reader may expect in an edited work, the contributing authors emphasized different topics and employed varying formats: developmental stages of research; diachronic and synchronic research trends; institutions and methodologies; regional study trends; personages, publications, and professional societies; or the sociopolitical history of the development of archaeology. In the main, the chapters focused upon the last one hundred years of archaeology: Brazil (1500-1990), Chile (1878- 1990), Colombia (1880-1962), Mexico (1885-1942), Panama (1888- 1990), Peru (1500-1990), and Venezuela (1932-1948). From a personal perspective, this reviewer wishes that Argentina, Guatemala, and Honduras might have been included, and Belize added for contrast.
The historical depth of archaeology as a discipline and its practice in Latin America is, of course, more recent than the histories of archaeology in England, France, Greece, or Italy. However, the history of archaeology is no less complex in these European countries than the histories of archaeology as practiced in the nation-states of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela. The four special studies (maize, lithics, Donald Lathrap, and archaeology-ethnology interface) are useful topical adjuncts to the seven core essays and the editor's splendid introduction.
To this reviewer, Oyuela-Caycedo has succeeded in his two goals: 1) to provide an historical context for understanding archaeological method and theory as seen in Latin America, and 2) to correct misrepresentations and broaden the reader's perspective about the social context within which Latin American archaeology has developed. Readers interested in the history of archaeology or the development of scientific research in Latin America may wish to examine two works in Spanish: Betty J. Meggers, editor, Prehistoria Suramericana: Nuevas Perspectivas, (Washington, D.C.: Taraxacum, 1992); and Gustavo Poltis, editor, Arqueologia en America Latina Hoy, (Bogota, Colombia: Biblioteca Banco Popular, 1992).
Lastly, readers may wish to know that the "First International Meeting of Archaeological Theory in South America," co-sponsored by the World Archaeology Congress, Society for Brazilian Archaeology, Universidade de Sao Paulo, and Universidade de Campinas, is scheduled for 9-12 September 1997 in Sao Paulo and Campinas, Brazil. Oyuela-Caycedo's compendium would be a splendid primer for this conference.
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Charles C. Kolb. Review of Oyuela-Caycedo, Augusto, ed., History of Latin American Archaeology.
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