The core of the chapter is an analysis of some responses to calls for time perspectivism in archaeology, and to the ‘Pompeii premise’ debate between Lewis Binford and Michael Schiffer which took place in the 1980s. Analysis of the very strong responses to both issues confirms that, underlying disputes about the measurement of time and the nature of archaeological phenomena, are serious divisions between archaeologists about the nature and purpose of archaeological knowledge. These disputes may not conform to a neat opposition between ‘processual’ and ‘postprocessual’ archaeologies, but neither do they allow alternative approaches (such as those seeking to re-describe and reinterpret archaeological phenomena as non-linear or dynamical systems) to escape unscathed (see e.g. Murray 1997).