In this concise, friendly textbook, Patricia Urban and Edward Schortman teach the basics of archaeological theory, making explicit the crucial link between theory and the actual conduct of archaeological research. The first half of the text addresses the general nature of theory, as well as how it is used in the social sciences and in archaeology in particular. To demonstrate the usefulness of theory, the authors draw from research at Stonehenge, Mesopotamia, and their own long-term research project in the Naco Valley of Honduras. They show how theory becomes meaningful when it is used by very real individuals to interpret equally real materials. These extended narratives exemplify the creative interaction between data and theory that shape our understanding of the past. Ideal for introductory courses in archaeological theory.