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Archaeology, networks, and the Smithsonian Institution, 1876–79
James E. Snead

Intricate networks of collectors and institutions have been fundamental elements of the infrastructure of archaeology. Informal, fluid networks particularly characterized communities of antiquarian interest in the nineteenth century United States, when limited institutional development coincided with increased public interest in indigenous relics. Competition over American antiquities intensified during the 1870s, a period marked both by increased regional interest in the indigenous past and national demand sparked by the 1876 Centennial Exposition. In this effort the Smithsonian’s two archaeologists, Charles Rau and Otis Tufton Mason, fell back on the time-honored mechanism of a circular, dispatched through their national network. This document, ‘Circular 316: In Regard to American Antiquities,’ generated an enormous response. What one contemporary called an ‘undigested mass of information’ is actually a unique account of a complex pattern. The history of archaeological practice that emerges is one not of a steady drive toward professional accountability and standards, but instead of motivated actors pursuing personal ambitions associated with the exploration of the past in a mode that directly reflects the cultural and social context of the United States in the 1870s.

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology

The dynamic processes of knowledge production in archaeology and elsewhere in the humanities and social sciences are increasingly viewed within the context of negotiation, cooperation and exchange, as the collaborative effort of groups, clusters and communities of scholars. Shifting focus from the individual scholar to the wider social contexts of her work, this volume investigates the importance of informal networks and conversation in the creation of knowledge about the past, and takes a closer look at the dynamic interaction and exchange that takes place between individuals, groups and clusters of scholars in the wider social settings of scientific work. Various aspects of and mechanisms at work behind the interaction and exchange that takes place between the individual scholar and her community, and the creative processes that such encounters trigger, are critically examined in eleven chapters which draw on a wide spectrum of examples from Europe and North America: from early modern antiquarians to archaeological societies and practitioners at work during the formative years of the modern archaeological disciplines and more recent examples from the twentieth century. The individual chapters engage with theoretical approaches to scientific creativity, knowledge production and interaction such as sociology and geographies of science, and actor-network theory (ANT) in their examination of individual–collective interplay. The book caters to readers both from within and outside the archaeological disciplines; primarily intended for researchers, teachers and students in archaeology, anthropology, classics and the history of science, it will also be of interest to the general reader.

Open Access (free)
The first Dutch excavation in Italy, 1952–58
Arthur Weststeijn and Laurien de Gelder

Dutch collectors, antiquarians, academics and (museum) archaeologists have explored the ancient heritage of the Mediterranean for over four centuries. Nevertheless, the institutionalised practice of archaeology in these areas is a relatively young discipline. This chapter deals specifically with the birth of Dutch archaeology in Italy. The first Dutch excavations, under the aegis of the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR), started in the 1950s and continued for more than a decade. This chapter examines the disciplinary infrastructure and the social, political and intellectual contexts of the first Dutch dig in Italy. Two issues are central in this research. One is to understand better the changing social, intellectual and political networks that commence and evolve during the process of an archaeological fieldwork project in a foreign country. The second is to place the many narratives produced by these academic networks in their contemporary contexts. This chapter deals with the questions: In which political context did foreign archaeological practice in Italy emerge? Who were the Dutch scholars that started the first excavation project? Which institutional context made the first Dutch excavation in Italy possible? Why dig beneath the Santa Prisca church?

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology
Felix Kanitz and Balkan archaeology
Vladimir V. Mihajlović

This chapter examines one network, webbed around Austrian autodidact Felix Kanitz (1829–1904) at the beginning of the institutional phase of Serbian archaeology. Throughout the greatest part of its history, archaeology in Serbia was practised within the wider field of, theoretically conservative, Yugoslav archaeology. Hence, Kanitz's iconic status in Serbian archaeology is shown through the fact that even today, more than 150 years after he published his first book on Roman heritage in Serbia, his works are the starting point of almost every archaeological project in the country. His advisers on Serbian topics and those who accompanied him in Serbia were almost all tightly connected to an imperialistic practice. Put differently, Kanitz created a kind of gentlemen's club, consisting of people who shared the same language, but also the same cultural values – Central European cultural values in particular. Both intermediary and intermediated, Kanitz, who was not trained as an archaeologist but was deeply tucked into the fold of Habsburg ‘frontier colonialism’, created an elaborate Europe-wide network that produced and, following that, transmitted knowledge on the Roman archaeology of Serbia.

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology
The case of Oscar Montelius and Italy
Anna Gustavsson

This chapter will discuss networks, exchange of ideas and knowledge production related to the emergence of a professional, European archaeology during the period c. 1870–1900. It draws from archival research on correspondence between primarily Oscar Montelius and Italian scholars. What structures, channels of communication and dissemination of knowledge can be traced in the source material? The chapter examines these questions and presents examples of how networks were formed, how communication worked and on what premises scientific questions and artefacts were discussed. What theoretical and methodological perspectives might be useful to examine these issues?

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology
Re-thinking Ludwik Fleck’s concept of the thought-collective according to the case of Serbian archaeology
Monika Milosavljević

While the history of archaeology is commonly considered as progressive, a linear development of scientific knowledge which invariably passes through four paradigmatic stages, the history of Serbian archaeology has evolved under numerous stimuli and found itself under the influence of local social conservatism in Yugoslavia throughout most of the twentieth century. There is a general consensus that archaeological concepts, practices, theories and methods originating from a west European context are adopted only in a delayed fashion into peripheral environments (such as Serbia). This would falsely imply that the subsequent development of archaeology in other regions has the same objectives in mind, which need not be the case for all movements of thought. The intersection of the theory of the thought-collective and the history of ideas in archaeology prompts specific areas for research, including questions that indicate where the epistemological limitations of archaeology in different historical contexts could be on the basis of informal aspects of communication among archaeologists. The example of Serbian archaeology is analysed using Fleck’s concepts to better view their strengths and weaknesses.

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology
Open Access (free)
Clusters of knowledge
Julia Roberts and Kathleen Sheppard
in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology
Interactional strategies in late-nineteenth-century Classical archaeology: the case of Adolf Furtwängler
Ulf R. Hansson

This chapter examines collegiality and the instrumentality of informal networks in the production of knowledge around 1900 as exemplified by the German classical archaeologist Adolf Furtwängler (1853–1907). Based on a relatively well documented case from the formative period in the modern history of Classical archaeology, this chapter explores how and to what extent various dynamic processes within the discipline can be affected when a key actor in the system for some reason withdraws or is excluded from the social aspects of the profession. Although Furtwängler was one of the most prolific and influential Classical archaeologists of his generation, his wide-ranging contribution is little discussed in the discipline’s modern histories, for various reasons. Based on substantial unpublished archive material that permits a detailed reconstruction of his professional networks and work methods, this chapter discusses Furtwängler’s problematic interaction with the scholarly community and his various strategies for creating and maintaining professional relations with institutions and individuals considered indispensable for his own work.

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology
The key role of the Italian antiquarian market in the inception of American Classical art collections during the late-nineteenth century
Francesca de Tomasi

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Chicago Art Institute managed their acquisitions of international arts and antiquities through the mediation of salaried agents in Rome who made purchases on their behalf. This network made transactions easier and allowed faster connections and the possibility of profitable deals. No Roman scholar, archaeologist or even state official was not called at least once to give an opinion on a purchase, write a report for the granting of an export permit or provide an estimate of the market value of an artwork. They often crossed the boundaries between archaeology and antiquarianism, conservation and collecting, legal and illicit. Among these personalities Wolfgang Helbig and Rodolfo Lanciani were both prominent and dynamic. This chapter answers questions such as: Why did Helbig and Lanciani choose to be intermediaries for overseas museums on the Roman antiquarian market? Was money the only reason? What were the differences between figures like Helbig and Lanciani and those like John Marshall and Edward Perry Warren, who also worked as purchasing agents and intermediaries?

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology
Was he more than just ‘Dr Took’?
Jonathan R. Trigg

This chapter presents a reflection and assessment of the life, career and work of the little-studied seventeenth-century physician and ‘Renaissance man’ Robert Toope. He is currently, perhaps, chiefly known for his correspondence on wide-ranging, eclectic, subjects with the likes of John Aubrey and Robert Boyle, together with later less-than-complimentary references by William Stukeley. The evidence suggests that the latter, albeit famous, observations were bafflingly unconsidered. Toope was more than merely a product of his time. He was clearly someone who was subject to periods of intense activity that had great influence on the work of his contemporaries and without which we would have far less understanding of the archaeological record of southern Britain. Yet, unlike many fellow antiquarians, for example, he did not publish his own observations, favouring perhaps the communication of such to other contemporary scholars. The chapter highlights the paradigmatic importance of going back to the original sources. It also serves to establish such facts as are known about Toope, correct some misinterpretations and introduce some new information in what is more than merely a nuanced biographical essay.

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology