Here is a quote from John Stuart Mill's Principles of Political Economy (1848):
It is hardly possible to overrate the value, in the present low state of human development, of placing human beings in contact with persons dissimilar to themselves, and with modes of thought and action unlike those with which they are familiar. Such communication has always been one of the primary sources of progress.
Now, let's re-do the quote, substituting "archaeology" for "humans":
It is hardly possible to overrate the value, in the present low state of archaeological development, of placing archaeologists in contact with persons dissimilar to themselves, and with modes of thought and action unlike those with which they are familiar. Such communication has always been one of the primary sources of progress.
I am often bored with the standard archaeology journals. Same old stuff, by the same old writers. I often find myself excited by new issues of journals in other fields, such as Urban Design International or Journal of World History, or perhaps Comparative Studies in Society and History, or Society and Natural Resources. I'm not trying to make the old point that theory and concepts in archaeology are borrowed from other fields. Some ideas are borrowed, but in my view, most of our theory and concepts are home grown.
Rather, my point is that interaction with diverse scholars in diverse fields generates scholarly and scientific progress. Insights from other fields help archaeologists develop creative and useful approaches to our subject matter, and insights from archaeology can help other scholars improve their own disciplines (although this latter point may require some extra persuasion, since it may be hard to convince, say, economists, that archaeologists have something interesting to say about economics).
Here are just a few recent interesting articles from the journals mentioned above. There are all sorts of interesting and relevant papers out there, one just has to take the time to find them (and read them.......).
Fargher, Lane F. and Richard E. Blanton (2007) Revenue, Voice, and Public Goods in three Pre-Modern States. Comparative Studies in Society and History 49:848-882.
Frank, Andre G. and William R. Thompson (2005) Afro-Eurasian Bronze Age Economic Expansion and Contraction Revisited. Journal of World History 16:115-172.
Hakim, Besim S. (2007) Generative Processes for Revitalizing Historic Towns or Heritage Districts. Urban Design International 12:87-99.
Janssen, Marco A., John M. Anderies and Elinor Ostrom (2007) Robustness of Social-Ecological Systems of Spatial and Temporal Variability. Society and Natural Resources 20:307-322.
PS - I got the quote from Mill, and some ideas about urbanism, from "Urban History for Planners": by Carl Abbott, Jr. Planning History 5(4), 2006, pp. 301-313.