Instructor: John Henderson
This course considers the possibility of connections between the America and the Old World before the Spanish discovery not only as an empirical question, but also as an intensely controversial issue that has tested the limits of the scholarly detachment that archaeologists imagine characterizes their perspectives. We will consider the evidence for several possible episodes of interaction as well as the broader issue of how long-distance interaction can be recognized in the archaeological record. Transoceanic contact is a common element in popular visions of the American past, but most professional archaeologists have rejected the possibility with great vehemence. The issue provides an interesting case study in the power of orthodoxy in archaeology.