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Towards a Social History of Archaeology: The Case of the Excavators of Early Iron Age Burial Mounds in Southern Germany

Author:

Nils Müller-Scheessel

DE
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Abstract

While the general history of archaeology has received a growing interest lately1, these efforts still lack a common research-guiding agenda. Furthermore, most of the studies still concentrate on biographies and event history. The embedding of archaeology in the structures and conditions of its time is still a kind of terra incognita. The few well known publications (e. g. Hudson 1981; Kristiansen 1981; Patterson 1986; 1995) emphasize the gap only more.

The lack of a significant amount of literature especially on the social history of archaeology is all the more surprising as the early interest in archaeology shows a clear social bias: archaeology was (and still is?) a recreational activity for the educated and the well-off. While Hudson’s book in particular is very readable, it is clearly meant to provide only a very broad picture. Along with the other publications mentioned above it is now somewhat dated; the lack of recent works on this topic thus highlight the lack of interest in the social history of archaeology even more.2 However, this essay does not deal with this deplorable fact, but seeks to present some ‘hard’ data on only one, albeit important activity of early archaeological excavations, particularly those of burial mounds. Its focus is on Southern Germany and on graves from the early Iron Age.3

How to Cite: Müller-Scheessel, N., (2008). Towards a Social History of Archaeology: The Case of the Excavators of Early Iron Age Burial Mounds in Southern Germany. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology. 18(1), pp.28–32. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/bha.18104
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Published on 07 May 2008.

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