PUBlic Professor Series | Dr. Kevin McGeough

'I met a traveller from an antique land': The Archaeology of Progress, Decline, and Collapse

Dr. Kevin McGeough, Department of Geography & Environment

The ability of archaeology to offer insight about long-term change is one of the major contributions of the discipline. Archaeologists and those that are interested in archaeological work have been particularly interested in understanding why cultures change, what constitutes progress, and why societies seemingly vanish.

Scholars have sought answers for why there was widespread collapse at the end of the Bronze Age, what happened to the ancient Maya, and why the Roman empire fell. Yet perhaps these ideas of progress and collapse are rooted in other ideologies and perhaps we are reading our own concerns into the archaeological record. Through a series of case studies, McGeough challenges the ideas of progress, decline, and collapse. Research Article.

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