Tweed, trowels, and twaddle: The recent de-emphasis of archaeological science in the formative training of archaeologists and its direct effect on archaeological conservation

Jonathan M. Leader


In the last twenty years, the primary training of New World archaeologists has gone through a number of shifts in emphasis. Many of these re-directions have been necessary and have had a salutary effect on the competence and grasp of archaeological practitioners. Unfortunately, the decline in departments that require hard science backgrounds, or provide meaningful instruction in archaeometry at the earliest levels, is a trend that should elicit serious alarm. This paper briefly discusses some of the possible reasons for this undesirable situation and suggests several concrete proposals to remedy the problem.