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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Horizon and Tradition on the Southern California Coast: A Comment


Wallace's (1955) "A Suggested Chronology for Southern California Coastal Archeology" is a pioneering paper that established a cultural chronology, and I do not wish to detract from its contributions. However, the horizon concept, which is the basic concept of Wallace's paper, does not by itself form "an adequate framework" (Koerper and Drover 1983: 26), nor is it "sufficient to our scholarly needs" (Koerper and Drover 1983: 1). The concepts of horizon and tradition are tools for archaeological analysis, just as the shovels and trowels are tools for excavation. The question should not be which tool is best, but rather which tool is best used for the task at hand.

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