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Archives, Ancestors, Practices

Archives, Ancestors, Practices: Archaeology in the Light of its History

Nathan Schlanger
Jarl Nordbladh
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 392
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  • Book Info
    Archives, Ancestors, Practices
    Book Description:

    In line with the resurgence of interest in the history of archaeology manifested over the past decade, this volume aims to highlight state-of-the art research across several topics and areas, and to stimulate new approaches and studies in the field. With their shared historiographical commitment, the authors, leading scholars and emerging researchers, draw from a wide range of case studies to address major themes such as historical sources and methods; questions of archaeological practices and the practical aspects of knowledge production; 'visualizing archaeology' and the multiple roles of iconography and imagery; and 'questions of identity' at local, national and international levels.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-065-4
    Subjects: Archaeology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VII)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. VIII-XI)
  4. List of Plates
    (pp. XII-XII)
  5. List of Contributors
    (pp. XIII-XVI)
  6. Preface and Acknowledgements
    (pp. XVII-XX)
    Nathan Schlanger and Jarl Nordbladh
  7. General Introduction: Archaeology in the Light of its Histories
    (pp. 1-6)
    Nathan Schlanger and Jarl Nordbladh

    The sheer mass of the volume you are now holding, with its twenty six chapters and over three hundred and fifty pages, is indicative, so we believe, of the genuine commitment and seriousness of purpose which characterises current enquiries into the history of archaeology. Or should we not rather say ‘histories’? After all, this cautiously used plural is not only to acknowledge the more relevant insights of reflexive relativism, but also – in line with the title given to the series of which this is the first volume published – to endorse a certain variability of perspectives and aims, and indeed to...


    • Chapter 1 Biography as Microhistory: The Relevance of Private Archives for Writing the History of Archaeology
      (pp. 9-20)
      Marc-Antoine Kaeser

      Since the beginning of the 1990s, the history of archaeology has undergone a considerable expansion (cf. Trigger 2001, Murray 2002, Schlanger 2002). Being characterised by a formidable increase in the number of research projects, publications, meetings, and exhibitions relating to the past of the discipline throughout the world, this expansion is not merely quantitative: beyond the amount of scholarship carried out, one can also notice the growing theoretical awareness of its practitioners, as well as an increase in the general attention aroused. Thus, research into the history of the discipline can no longer be belittled as a ‘hobby for retired...

    • Chapter 2 From Distant Shores: Nineteenth-Century Dutch Archaeology in European Perspective
      (pp. 21-36)
      Ruurd B. Halbertsma

      The history of museums is the history of people: the men and women involved in creating museums, collecting objects, raising funds, organising expeditions, publishing the collection and permanently making decisions. On a higher level these actions are fostered (or thwarted) by local officials or government institutions, often with their own cultural agenda in mind. Thus, the history of a museum might be a story about local collecting and antiquarian interest within its own region, but it can also grow into a cultural chapter in national or even international history. The history of the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities falls into...

    • Chapter 3 The Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition, 1886–1889: A Model of Inquiry for the History of Archaeology
      (pp. 37-46)
      Curtis M. Hinsley and David R. Wilcox

      In the fall of 1886 Mary Tileston Hemenway, a wealthy Boston widow and philanthropist, agreed to sponsor the Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition under the direction of anthropologist Frank Hamilton Cushing.¹ Mrs Hemenway supported many worthy causes in the years following the American Civil War (1861–1865), concerned chiefly with education and American history, and she was intrigued by Cushing, his five years’ sojourn among the Zuñi Indians in northwestern New Mexico, and his visions for American anthropology (Hinsley 2002: 5–18). Together they dreamed of founding a private ‘Pueblo Museum’ in Salem, Massachusetts, and the artifact collections from Arizona and...

    • Chapter 4 The Phenomenon of Pre-Soviet Archaeology. Archival Studies in the History of Russian Archaeology – Methods and Results
      (pp. 47-58)
      Nadezhda Igorevna Platonova

      The official Soviet historiography of the period lasting from the 1930s to the 1980s tends toward a rather critical view of Russian archaeology during the first third of the twentieth century. Invariably stressed were its empiricism, eclecticism and absence of theoretical or methodological approaches. The tone was set by V.I. Ravdonikas in ‘For a Marxist History of Material Culture’ (1930). Its trenchant style was suggestive of a political objective – to discredit the ‘old archaeology’ and lay a theoretical foundation for the crackdown that began in 1929 with mass purges, dismissals and arrests of prominent specialists. Despite the evidence...

    • Chapter 5 Prehistoric Archaeology in the ‘Parliament of Science’, 1845–1900
      (pp. 59-72)
      Tim Murray

      In this chapter, which is part of a much larger work on the history of prehistoric archaeology in England, I will very briefly exemplify the complex interplay between ethnology and the emergent disciplines of anthropology and prehistoric archaeology, through the medium of The British Association for the Advancement of Science. Although my primary purpose is to understand the history of prehistoric archaeology in England, we will see that it is impossible to abstract debates in England from those happening elsewhere in Britain, particularly in Scotland. Indeed, while the two rival societies where much of these debates unfolded – the Anthropological...


    • Chapter 6 Wilamowitz and Stratigraphy in 1873: A Case Study in the History of Archaeology’s ‘Great Divide’
      (pp. 75-88)
      Giovanna Ceserani

      A previously unnoticed episode in 1873 reveals the illustrious philologist Ulrich von Wilamowitz (1848–1931) discussing the stratigraphy of the site of Capua, near Naples. Wilamowitz and stratigraphy make a surprising couple: on the one hand, the most representative figure of classical philology in the prestigious German tradition; on the other, one of the defining practices of archaeology. Moreover, while stratigraphy is widely used in all archaeological enterprises, it has long been the hallmark of prehistory, or world archaeology, rather than classical archaeology. The Great Divide – as the difference between classical and other archaeologies has been called...

    • Chapter 7 Methodological Reflections on the History of Excavation Techniques
      (pp. 89-96)
      Gisela Eberhardt

      An important change in the perspective of the history of science came about in the 1980s with the so-called ‘experimental turn’, when the focus of study was extended from theories and ideas to experimental practice (Hagner 2001). Looking at the practical side of the discipline, archaeology was among the branches which sought to get to the bottom of their ‘science in action’ (Latour 1987). Yet, apart from a few exceptions, for a long time such reflections have usually been mere by-products of excavation manuals or reports (e.g. Echt 1984; Harris 1989; Roskams 2001). On the other hand, the development of...

    • Chapter 8 ‘More than a Village’. On the Medieval Countryside as an Archaeological Field of Study
      (pp. 97-108)
      Emma Bentz

      Since the first half of the twentieth century there has been an increasing interest in the archaeological study of medieval rural settlements in different parts of Europe, resulting in a steadily growing amount of excavations and publications. At present, the archaeology of medieval rural settlements is considered an established field of study, represented both at conferences and in the university teaching of medieval archaeology. However, the interest in these remains has fluctuated over time and place. From the first glimpses of an antiquarian interest, seen through written reports and maps of deserted medieval settlements in late medieval and early post-medieval...

    • Chapter 9 Amateurs and Professionals in Nineteenth-Century Archaeology. The Case of the Oxford ‘Antiquarian and Grocer’ H.M.J. Underhill (1855–1920)
      (pp. 109-120)
      Megan Price

      A plain wooden box stored in the basement of Oxford University Institute of Archaeology, labelled ‘Underhill Slides: The Great Stone Circles of Britain’ led to a discovery of an unexplored network of social and intellectual connections between amateurs and academics of ‘town and gown’ in late nineteenth-century Oxford. Many of those individuals became involved in a new scientific society, the Oxfordshire Natural History Society and Field Club, a society ‘open to all interested in science’ which was formed in the 1880s (Bellamy 1908: 14). In this chapter, I identify how various social and intellectual relationships emerged between amateurs and professionals...

    • Chapter 10 Revisiting the ‘Invisible College’: José Ramón Mélida in Early Twentieth-Century Spain
      (pp. 121-130)
      Margarita Díaz-Andreu

      Academic life is, and has always been, not only about ideas but also about daily practices such as letters (emails nowadays), conversations, encounters, conferences, committees, institutions and so on. All these are the media through which essential information is passed on and key alliances are formed. Scholars do not work in isolation, but in a complex network in which social interactions change the scene at every moment. Strategic movements are essential to achieve notoriety, if this is what the individual has decided to accomplish. In the 1960s historians of science came up with a term – ’invisible college’ – to define the...

    • Chapter 11 Between Sweden and Central Asia. Practising Archaeology in the 1920s and 1930s
      (pp. 131-146)
      Jan Bergman

      Archaeological practice as a theme in the history of archaeology can, of course, be approached in a number of ways. My approach is based on the fact that a couple of years ago, I came across a bunch of private letters and diaries written by a Swedish archaeologist in the 1920s and early 1930s that contain a wealth of information on his daily work in two completely different areas of the world, namely in Uppland, Sweden and in the western provinces of China. This means that I am only going to describe the practice of a single professional during a fairly...

    • Chapter 12 Model Excavations: ‘Performance’ and the Three-Dimensional Display of Knowledge
      (pp. 147-162)
      Christopher Evans

      In May 1857 Stephen Stone delivered an ‘Account of Certain (supposed) British and Saxon Remains, recently discovered at Standlake in the County of Oxford’ to the Society of Antiquaries of London:

      On removing the soil, the workmen first came to a circular pit whose diameter was 5 feet 6 inches. The pit, markedain the sketch I have prepared, I subsequently cleaned out, the gravel diggers not choosing to be at the trouble themselves… Having prepareda model, as well as a ground plan, of the whole from measurements carefully made and repeated, I need not enter into a...

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)

    • Chapter 13 The Impossible Museum: Exhibitions of Archaeology as Reflections of Contemporary Ideologies
      (pp. 165-178)
      Marcello Barbanera

      The curious visitor to the Museo Nazionale Romano, with its impressive displays of incomparable masterpieces and exhaustive explanatory panels, would emerge nonetheless with a rather disconnected feeling whereby the meanings of the ancient world were forever relegated to the past, and the exhibition just experienced was designed more for our facile contemplation rather than our profound comprehension (Fig. 13.1). The cold, a-contextual nature of the installation is in part the consequence of the specialisation in the study of antiquity, but also the loss of a relevant role that ancient art played in society (Borbein 2004, 35–36). Eighteenth-century Europe constructed...

    • Chapter 14 Towards a More ‘Scientific’ Archaeological Tool: The Accurate Drawing of Greek Vases between the End of the Nineteenth and the First Half of the Twentieth Centuries
      (pp. 179-190)
      Christine Walter

      Ancient Greek vases were initially studied for their iconography. Over time, they were scrutinised also for the style of their drawing, and this made it necessary to elaborate a classification of individual artists and their workshops. It is generally acknowledged that the bases for a more accurate method of stylistic analysis were laid down by the Italian Giovanni Morelli, from 1874 to 1876, in a series of articles on Italian paintings housed in the Borghese Gallery in Roma (published under the pseudonym of Lermolieff; see Lermolieff 1874–1876 and particularly Lermolieff 1891, the chapter entitled ´Princip und Methode`). This method allows the style...

    • Chapter 15 European Images of the Ancient Near East at the Beginnings of the Twentieth Century
      (pp. 191-204)
      Maria Gabriella Micale

      Developments in both the study of antiquities and in European antiquarian research following the Middle Ages are well known (Schnapp 1993; Trigger 1996: 37–42). Works of art were often recognised from their descriptions by classical authors, and their study led to an interest in collecting antiquities and to the recognition of the ideological value of possessing them. Thus, the palaces, the temples, the houses, and in some cases the ruins that had been visible during the centuries gradually completed the ‘material’ picture of the ancient world. In order to put this material culture to a visible environment and...

    • Chapter 16 Weaving Images. Juan Cabré and Spanish Archaeology in the First Half of the Twentieth Century
      (pp. 205-220)
      Susana González Reyero

      Photography has transformed the practices of historians and archaeologists. Together with drawings and casts, these three forms of appropriation and substitution of objects for the analysis of reality have modified our approach to the cultures of the past. As Walter Benjamin has pointed out (1971), they have even transformed the original object of study.

      In the following pages I would like to address several issues arising from the adoption of photography in archaeology in Spain. The technique of photography was incorporated into a scientific discipline that was, at that time, in its process of formation. Applied to the study of...

    • Chapter 17 Frozen in Time: Photography and the Beginnings of Modern Archaeology in the Netherlands
      (pp. 221-230)
      Leo Verhart

      Archaeology is a very strange scientific discipline. We as archaeologists study every detail of the remote past: soil traces, building constructions, art, pottery, flint, seeds, charcoal, use traces on flint tools, etc. But we know hardly anything of our own archaeological history. We are familiar with the history of the great discoveries. They are described in articles and books and we can even watch them on television. We know nearly all about the excavations of Troy and the opening of the burial chamber of Tutankamun. But what do we know about the history of archaeology in a country without such...


    • Chapter 18 Choosing Ancestors: The Mechanisms of Ethnic Ascription in the Age of Patriotic Antiquarianism (1815–1850)
      (pp. 233-246)
      Ulrike Sommer

      In 1825, three friends, the physician Julius Schmidt, Deacon Friedrich Alberti and the cleric M. Meißner, ‘who had long since kept a vigilant eye on prehistoric remains in the area’ decided to found an Antiquarian Society for the tiny Duchy of Reuß-Schleiz (316.7 km²) in Hohenleuben (fig. 18. 1). At that time, the town had about 1900 inhabitants. It was the seat of the local court of law, a ‘decent cattle market’ and of some textile mills (Brockhausencyclopaedia for 1832: 374).

      Thus, ‘the Voigtland Antiquarian Society has joined the numerous societies and associations that have already united in all...

    • Chapter 19 Archaeology, Politics and Identity. The Case of the Canary Islands in the Nineteenth Century
      (pp. 247-260)
      José Farrujia de la Rosa

      The Canary Islands were rediscovered in the Middle Ages following the European expansion in the Atlantic by Portugal, Aragon and Italy in the fourteenth century, and later by Castile in the fifteenth century (Morales 1971).¹ The factors behind this European expansionism were: the efforts of mercantile capital to find direct access to African gold (Macías 2001: 131–32); precapitalist trade, which favoured colonisation abroad, as opposed to earlier concerns with frontier colonisation during the High Middle Ages; and the desire to incorporate new discoveries within the realms of Christianity before they were absorbed by Islam (Stevens 1997: 86).

      A direct...

    • Chapter 20 The Wagner Brothers: French Archaeologists and Origin Myths in Early Twentieth-Century Argentina
      (pp. 261-272)
      Ana Teresa Martínez, Constanza Taboada and Luis Alejandro Auat

      Brothers Emilio Roger and Duncan Ladislao Wagner were born in the second half of the century to a French diplomat of Alsatian origins and a Polish noblewoman who had sought political asylum in Western Europe. Duncan (1864–1937) was born in Paris and Emilio (1868–1949) in Ormisten (by then a French territory) during the last phase of the Second Empire. Both brothers studied in the Jesuit College Saint Michele in Friburg (Switzerland) and, without specific academic training, they subsequently devoted themselves to archaeology and natural sciences, following the encyclopaedic model of the nineteenth century.

      By the end of the...

    • Chapter 21 Language, Nationalism and the Identity of the Archaeologists: The Case of Juhani Rinne’s Professorship in the 1920s
      (pp. 273-286)
      Visa Immonen and Jussi-Pekka Taavitsainen

      In the Nordic countries, archaeology was established as an academic discipline in the nineteenth century, but one aspect of archaeology, historical archaeology, remained outside academia until the mid-twentieth century. There were, however, unsuccessful attempts to introduce historical archaeology, or more precisely, medieval archaeology into the universities in Lund, Uppsala and Turku (Åbo). In this study, we concentrate on the case of historical archaeology at the Finnish University of Turku in the 1920s. The reasons why a professorship in the subject was never attained at the Finnish University of Turku are complex, combining many short- and long- term developments. Their examination...

    • Chapter 22 Protohistory at the Portuguese Association of Archaeologists: A Question of National Identity?
      (pp. 287-304)
      Ana Cristina Martins

      It is by now well established that the birth of nationalism and the affirmation of liberal ideas have motivated the establishment of archaeology as a scientific discipline, while also dictating and conditioning its internal organisation. Indeed, this close relationship was embodied in the nineteenth-century concept of ‘nation’, as the basis for a population unity with a right (and duty) to become a (sometimes) powerful political entity, apparently justified by a (desirable and necessary) certain past. And there was an urgent need to know (to recognise), divulge and to praise, and ensure the survival of the ideological programme that had been imposed....

    • Chapter 23 Making Spain Hispanic. Gómez-Moreno and Iberian Archaeology
      (pp. 305-316)
      Juan Pedro Bellón Ruiz, Arturo Ruiz Rodríguez and Alberto Sánchez Vizcaíno

      Manuel Gómez-Moreno Martínez was born in 1870 in Granada to a rich family of artists who were also in the business of printing. His father, Manuel Gómez-Moreno González, was an educated painter who was in the esteem of the cultural elite of Granada and was also a member of theReal Academia de Bellas Artes.

      He was a not a brilliant student of Arts. However, a stay in Rome with his father funded by theDiputación de Granadabetween 1878 and 1880, as well as his instruction while on fieldwork at various sites for theCentro Artístico y Literarioand...

    • Chapter 24 Virchow and Kossinna. From the Science-Based Anthropology of Humankind to the Culture-Historical Archaeology of Peoples
      (pp. 317-334)
      Sebastian Brather

      Rudolf Virchow (1821–1902) and Gustaf Kossinna (1858–1931) were two prominent figures in German prehistoric research. Both dealt with prehistory only in the second part of their lives – for approximately thirty years. Although they both worked in Berlin, they probably never met.¹ The year Virchow died (after jumping off a tram at the age of 81 and subsequent pneumonia), Kossinna was appointed as associate professor at Berlin university. This year, 1902, can be viewed as a turning point – from an international and anthropologically oriented field of research through ‘national archaeology’ to a very ‘German prehistory’....

    • Chapter 25 Dutch Archaeology and National Socialism
      (pp. 335-346)
      Martijn Eickhoff

      It is well known that during times of social crisis and political revolutions people tend to turn to the past looking for their roots. In Dutch history, several such moments of heightened historical interest can be found, for example during the French invasion of 1795 (Romein 1946: 180–81). Also during the German occupation of 1940–1945, the historical consciousness of the Dutch received a sudden and strong impulse. Especially during the first years of occupation many books and pamphlets appeared in which, speaking of the Dutch national ‘character’, national identity was analysed and described. With reference to these historical...

  12. Index
    (pp. 347-356)