The current renewal of interest in the history of archaeology can be explained in several ways, and notably in view of the extraordinary extension of the discipline's objects and methods. In the last decades, the most far-flung regions of the earth have been subjected to systematic exploration, radiometric dating techniques have continually improved, DNA studies have contributed to the transformations of biological anthropology, and indeed the very process of human evolution has heen cast in new light by the changing boundaries between humanity and animality. A natural science for many founding fathers of prehistory, a social science for those who emphasize its anthropological dimensions, archaeology has remained for others a historical discipline by virtue of its proximity to ancient languages and inscriptions. At one end of the spectrum, some archaeologists see themselves as specialists in material culture, able to deal with ohjects, both ancient and modern, as simultaneously technical and semiotic systems. At the other end, there are those who will only put their faith in the detailed approach of singular, particular cultures. To put the matter in extreme terms; it seems as if there existed a universalist archaeology standing in opposition to a plethora of incompatible and irreducible vernacular archaeologies.