Theodore E. White and the Development of Zooarchaeology in North America


Theodore E. White and the Development of Zooarchaeology in North America

R. Lee Lyman

Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology Series

282 pages
4 photographs, 12 tables, 13 figures, 1 appendix


July 2016


$55.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

July 2016


$55.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

July 2016


$55.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Theodore E. White and the Development of Zooarchaeology in North America illuminates the researcher and his lasting contribution to a field that has largely ignored him in its history. The few brief histories of North American zooarchaeology suggest that Paul W. Parmalee, John E. Guilday, Elizabeth S. Wing, and Stanley J. Olsen laid the foundation of the field. Only occasionally is Theodore White (1905–77) included, yet his research is instrumental for understanding the development of zooarchaeology in North America.
               R. Lee Lyman works to fill these gaps in the historical record and revisits some of White’s analytical innovations from a modern perspective. A comparison of publications shows that not only were White’s zooarchaeological articles first in print in archaeological venues but that he was also, at least initially, more prolific than his contemporaries. While the other “founders” of the field were anthropologists, White was a paleontologist by training who studied long-extinct animals and their evolutionary histories. In working with remains of modern mammals, the typical paleontological research questions were off the table simply because the animals under study were too recent. And yet White demonstrated clearly that scholars could infer significant information about human behaviors and cultures. Lyman presents a biography of Theodore White as a scientist and a pioneer in the emerging field of modern anthropological zooarchaeology.

Author Bio

R. Lee Lyman is a professor of anthropology at the University of Missouri–Columbia. He is the author of Quantitative Paleozoology and coauthor of Measuring Time with Artifacts: A History of Methods in American Archaeology (Nebraska, 2006).


"Thanks to R. Lee Lyman's meticulous efforts, the important details of Theodore White's work will not be lost for the next generation of zooarchaeologists."—Meredith Wismer, Journal of the Iowa Archeological Society

“This carefully crafted, well-researched book frames Theodore White as a pioneering analytical giant in anthropological zooarchaeology and thus fills an enormous gap in the history of the sub-discipline. . . . This remarkable work is mandatory reading for zooarchaeologists and scholars interested in the history of American archaeology.”—Matthew Hill, associate professor of anthropology at Iowa State University and the author of Paleoindian Subsistence Dynamics on the Northwestern Great Plains: Zooarchaeology of the Clary Ranch and Agate Basin Sites 

“R. Lee Lyman brings his passion for archaeological history and zooarchaeology as well as detailed command of the details of [Theodore] White’s contributions together in this book. Lyman links White’s perspectives to contemporary anthropological zooarchaeology with his characteristic alacrity and penchant for detail.”—Steve Wolverton, associate professor in archaeology at the University of North Texas and coauthor of Sushi in Cortez: Interdisciplinary Essays on Mesa Verde

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

List of Tables
Series Editors' Introduction
1.  Why Theodore E. White?
2.  White’s Academic Training and Work History
3.  White’s Contributions to Paleontology
4.  The Emergence of North American Zooarchaeology
5.  Zooarchaeologists’ Knowledge of and Opinions of White
6.  White’s Programmatic Statements
7.  White’s Substantive and Methodological Contributions
8.  Theodore E. White and the Emergence of Anthropological Zooarchaeology
Appendix:  “Observations on the Butchering Technique of Some Aboriginal Peoples, No. 10: Bison Bone from the Oldham Site,” by Theodore E. White

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