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1999 Chicago Update

As I write, we are in the midst of a blizzard of paper and poster abstracts. The hardest part of this job is its many distractions; the abstracts invite attendance to papers and posters that will not be assembled until March.

What can you look forward to in Chicago, besides blues, pizza, Sammy Sosa, and Michael Jordan? We will have a moveable feast of archaeology from Antigua to Zanzibar. Of course, there will be numerous sessions devoted Midwest and Great Lakes archaeology but also on the archaeology from the rest of the world. In addition to sessions on mounds, pots, and projectile points, expect sessions on textiles, labor, and cosmology. And, at least four "festschrift" symposia--honoring James Brown, George Cowgill, Hester Davis, and James Stoltman--will be featured.

The Opening Session, on Wednesday evening, will highlight some of the spectacular archaeology from the Great Lakes and Midwest. Be here for the latest on Paleoindian mammoth exploitation, Archaic social organization, Hopewell mound-builders, and Mississippian political organization.

Chicago has been the seat of many intellectual revolutions--conceptual, methodological, and even institutional--within Americanist archaeology. Here, the thinking of Fay-Cooper Cole, Paul Martin, Robert Braidwood, Lewis Binford and others initiated cascades in novel approaches to archaeological interpretation. And the New Archeology, among other movements, was born here. The Plenary Session on Friday evening, organized by Kathleen Morrison and Mark Lycett, will offer an examination of the legacy of these and other important moments by architects of the revolutions themselves. (Black berets and tie-dyed attire optional.) The meeting site of Chicago affords an opportunity to explore these historic debates and their consequences, which continue to resonate in contemporary archaeology.

LuAnn Wandsnider is associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Nebraska.


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