The concept of `cultural process' has been of interest to anthropologists since the late 19th century. Franz Boas indicated that investigating cultural processes was central to anthropology, but his failure to define the concept set a disciplinary precedent. Process has seldom been discussed in theoretical detail because the basic notion is commonsensical. A.L. Kroeber provided a definition in 1948 and distinguished between short-term dynamics of how cultures operate and long-term dynamics resulting in cultural change. Leslie White conflated the two families of processes. Archaeologists working before 1960 focused on processes resulting in the diachronic evolution of cultures; many of these involved cultural transmission. Initially, processes involving the synchronic operation of a culture were conflated with diachronic evolutionary processes by processual archaeologists. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Lewis Binford, David Clarke, and Frank Hole and Robert Heizer all discussed cultural processes within the framework of systems theory. Simultaneously, growing concern over the formational processes that created the archaeological record shifted attention from the original conception of cultural processes. Models of the temporal duration, scale, and magnitude of cultural processes illustrate their complexity and suggest avenues for further conceptualization.