Wrong to report preliminary finds?
In reaction to my most recent book review published at Interpreter, some are suggesting that Dr. Wade Miller should have gotten the work he is doing with horse bone specimen published in professional journals before he published his book. The insinuation being that it is somehow wrong to report his preliminary finds.
That is, of course, nonsense. Scholars report on their finds in popular outlets all the time before they get peer-reviewed and published. I just recently finished two books by an Egyptologist, published by Oxford University Press, that were highly praised because they frequently and repeatedly draw on yet unfinished, unreported, and un-peer-reviewed archaeological findings. It did so cautiously and with lots of caveats regarding the preliminary nature of the material, just as Dr. Miller was in his book. And, because of doing this, these books were praised for drawing on the most up-to-date data (then) presently available. Every news report on an archaeological dig is also popularizing yet unpublished, unfinished, and un-peer-reviewed findings. And this is not a phenomena limited to archaeology. It happens in science too.
While we certainly must not let ourselves get carried away by preliminary findings, there is also no harm in reporting such findings and being optimistic about the future possibilities, as Dr. Miller was in his book.