This short book presents the papers presented in one of the sessions of the XV World Congress of the International Union for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences (UISPP) that was held in Lisbon in 2006. The editors have done an excellent job in publishing the papers so quickly – with the result that they have both collectively an individually retained some freshness in a field that is rapidly expanding.
The volume comprises seven mostly short and generally very diverse papers by scholars from Swizterland, Portugal, Hungary, Germany, France, Sweden and Rumania, two of which are published in French. All papers have English and French abstracts.
Interest in the internationalization of archaeology in the nineteenth century has been long-standing (in large part due to the work of Kaeser) and it is fitting that he opens the volume with a very short account of the foundation of the International Congress of Prehistory in 1865/1866. Ana Martins follows this theme with a discussion of another international conference held in Portugal in 1930. The next paper takes a more personal view of internationalization through the work of Flóris Rómer between 1876 and 1880. Ulrike Somer's discussion of the influence of the International Congress of Prehistoric Anthropology and Archaeology on the development of German archaeology draws the interesting conclusion that the importance of international issues waned after the general acceptance of a high human antiquity in the late nineteenth century. Much the same territory is traversed in subsequent papers dealing with French and Scandinavian perspectives. The volume closes with a detailed analysis of the ways in which the discovery of the Cucuteni culture in Rumania was validated by the international scientific community in the late nineteenth century.
It is inevitable that there is a diversity of quality in a collection such as this. Part of the reason may well be the extreme brevity of some of the contributions, another, the fact that some lines of inquiry or approaches (especially into the process and outcomes of internationalization) are clearly not going to get us much past a recognition that in the late nineteenth century local and global archaeologies were being developed synchronously. This is an important point, but one that has been made before. Nonetheless the documentation of local perspectives and variations plays an important role in developing historical texture.