Messy Data, Ordered Questions

Mark W. Hauser*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A lively debate was witnessed in 2011 about the role of deductive and interpretive approaches in the production of anthropological knowledge, especially as it relates to archaeology. Scholarly output in archaeology this year reflects this concern. First, there is a trend toward furthering our archaeological imagination-finding new ways of asking questions that link the most empirical of research projects with innovative social theory. Second, there is an embracement of the messiness of archaeological data and the conclusions we can reach from it. By looking at the messiness of archaeological data and the limits of knowledge, archaeology asserts itself as an open frontier for anthropological inquiry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-195
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Anthropologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Anthropological archaeology
  • Environment
  • Historical archaeology
  • Identity
  • Power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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