Historicising the emergence of the Aegean culture (1890s)
In the course of the 20th century Aegean prehistory grew to a vigorous sub-discipline of archaeology and, in the process, the Aegean became firmly established as a distinct prehistoric culture. The notion of an Aegean culture hardened with time to the point that it is difficult today to reflect on its historicity. It is difficult, that is, to think of the Aegean concept as having arisen in a modern context, much easier to think of the Aegean culture as having existed since prehistory, waiting to be discovered by archaeology in the late 19th century. In this essay I try to negotiate the difficulties. More specifically, I review the historical conditions in which, and the processes by which, the Aegean emerged as a distinct prehistoric culture in the 1890s. In brief, I historicise the emergence of the Aegean culture.
Historicising disciplinary concepts is a critical exercise. One needs to bring to the fore and scrutinise long-forgotten or overlooked details (e.g., premises of another era that were subsequently repudiated and were with time lost to memory). But make no mistake: historicising disciplinary concepts is heeding the fact that, like all things human, our concepts have histories; it is by no means tantamount to undermining or debunking the concepts under consideration. I will have a little more to say about this and a few other matters at the end of the essay.
Alves, A. 2019. The German tradition of self-cultivation (Bildung) and its historical meaning. Educação & Realidade 44 (2): 1–18.
Anderson, B. 1991. Imagined Communities. London: Verso.
Anonymous. 1890. Archaeological news, general review. American Journal of Archaeology and of the History of the Fine Arts 6: 154–260.
Bennett, T. 1988. The exhibitionary complex. New Formations 4: 73–102.
Booher, C.R. 2015. Perfection, History, and Harmonious Individuality: Herder’s Ethical Thought, 1765–1791. PhD dissertation, Syracuse University. https://surface.syr.edu/etd/203. Accessed 1.1.2021.
Bunzl, M. 1996. Franz Boas and the Humboldtian tradition. From Volksgeist and Nationalcharakter to an anthropological concept of culture, in G.W. Stocking, Jr (ed.) Volksgeist as Method and Ethic: Essays on Boasian Ethnography and Anthropology (History of Anthropology 8): 206–259. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Challis, D. 2016. Skull triangles: Flinders Petrie, race theory and biometrics. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology 26(1), 5: 1–8.
Clarke, J.T. 1885. Trojan and Asian craniology. American Journal of Archaeology and of the History of the Fine Arts 1: 195–202.
Collignon, M. 1892. Histoire de la sculpture grecque, Volume I. Paris: Firmin-Didot et Cie.
D’Agostino, P. 2002. Craniums, criminals, and the ‘cursed race’: Italian anthropology in American racial thought, 1861–1924. Comparative Studies in Society and History 44: 319–343.
Daniel, G. 1950. A Hundred Years of Archeology. London: Gerald Duckworth and Co.
Daniel, G. 1981. A Short History of Archeology. London: Thames and Hudson.
Dennis, G. 1878. The Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria (2nd edn). London: John Murray.
Duemmler, F. and F. Studniczka. 1887. Zur Herkunft der mykenischen Cultur. Mittheilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts in Athen 12: 1–24.
Evans, A.J. 1892–1893. A Mykênæan treasure from Ægina. Journal of Hellenic Studies 13: 195–226.
Evans, A.J. 1894. Primitive pictographs and a prae-Phoenician script, from Crete and the Peloponnese. Journal of Hellenic Studies 14: 270–372.
Evans, A.J. 1896a. Krete. Explorations in eastern Krete. American Journal of Archaeology and of the History of the Fine Arts 11: 449–467.
Evans, A.J. 1896b. ‘The Eastern Question’ in anthropology. Report of the Sixty-sixth Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Liverpool, Sept. 1896: 906–922. London: John Murray.
Evans, A.J. 1897. Further discoveries of Cretan and Aegean script: with Libyan and proto-Egyptian comparisons. Journal of Hellenic Studies 17: 327–395.
Evans, A.J. 1900a. Writing in prehistoric Greece. Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 30: 91–93.
Evans, A.J. 1900b. Mycenaean Cyprus as illustrated in the British Museum excavations. Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 30: 199–220.
Fitton, L.J. 1996. The Discovery of the Greek Bronze Age. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Flower, H.N. 1891. Summaries of periodicals, Εφημερίς Αρχαιολογική. American Journal of Archaeology and of the History of the Fine Arts 7: 342–346.
Fotiadis, M. 2001. Imagining Macedonia in prehistory, ca. 1900–1930. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 14: 115–135.
Fotiadis, M. 2006. Factual claims in late nineteenth century European prehistory and the descent of a modern discipline’s ideology. Journal of Social Archaeology 6: 5–27.
Fotiadis, M. 2010. There is a blue elephant in the room: from state institutions to citizen indifference, in A. Stroulia and S.B. Sutton (eds) Archaeology in Situ: Sites, Archaeology and Communities in Greece: 447–456. London: Lexington Books.
Fotiadis, M. 2016. Aegean prehistory without Schliemann. Hesperia 85: 91–119.
Fotiadis, M. 2017. Are histories of archaeology good to think with? in S. Voutsaki and P. Cartledge (eds) Ancient Histories and Modern Identities. A Critical History of Archaeology in 19th and 20th Century Greece: 186–198. London and New York: Routledge.
Gellner, E. 1983. Nations and Nationalism. New York: Cornell University Press.
Ginzburg, C. 1989. Clues, Myths and the Historical Method Paradigm. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Guibernau, M. 1996. Nationalisms. The Nation State and Nationalism in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge, Mass.: Polity Press.
Haskell, F. 2002. Le Musée éphémère. Les maîtres anciens et l’essor des expositions, transl. P.-E. Dauzat. Paris: Gallimard.
Hegel, G.W.F. 1991. The Philosophy of History, transl. J. Sibree. Buffalo: Prometheus Books.
Helbig, C.F.W. 1896. Sur la question mycénienne. Mémoires de l’Institut national de France 35, 2e partie: 291–373.
Hinchman, L.P. 1990. The idea of individuality: origins, meaning, and political significance. Journal of Politics 52: 759–781.
Hobsbawm, E. 1987. The Age of Empire, 1875–1914. London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson.
Hobsbawm, E. 1990. Nations and Nationalism since 1780. Program, Myth, Reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hogarth, D.G. (ed.) 1899. Authority and Archaeology, Sacred and Profane. Essays on the Relation of Monuments to Biblical and Classical Studies. London: John Murray.
Hogarth, D.G. and R.C. Bosanquet. 1899. Archaeology in Greece, 1898–9. Journal of Hellenic Studies 19: 319–329.
Hutchinson, J. 1987. The Dynamics of Cultural Nationalism. The Gaelic Revival and the Creation of the Irish Nation State, London: Allen & Unwin.
Karadimas, N. and N. Momigliano. 2004. On the history of the term ‘Minoan’ before Evans’s work in Crete (1894). Studi micenei ed egeo-anatolici 46(2): 243–258.
Kohl, P.L. 1998. Nationalism and archaeology: on the constructions of nations and the reconstructions of the remote past. Annual Review of Anthropology 27: 223–246.
Kossack, G. 1992. Prehistoric archaeology in Germany: its history and current situation. Norwegian Archaeological Review 25: 73–109.
Lawrence, P. 2005. Nationalism. History and Theory. Harlow, UK: Pearson.
Le Bon, G. 1895. Psychologie des foules. Paris: Felix Alcan.
Leys, R. 1991. Types of one: Adolph Meyer’s life chart and the representation of individuality. Representations 34: 1–29.
McMahon, R. 2007. The Races of Europe: Anthropological Race Classification of Europeans 1839-1939. Florence: European University Institute.
Manley, B. 2011. Petrie’s revolutions: the case of the Qurneh queen, in K. Exell (ed.) Egypt in Its African Context. Proceedings of the Conference Held at The Manchester Museum, 2-4 October 2009: 92–97. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports International Series 2204.
Massin, B. 1996. From Virchow to Fischer: physical anthropology and ‘modern race theories’ in Wilhelmine Germany, in G.W. Stocking, Jr (ed.) Volksgeist as Method and Ethic. Essays on Boasian Anthropology and the German Anthropological Tradition (History of Anthropology 8): 79–154. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Meinander, C.F. 1980. The concept of culture in European archaeological literature, in G. Daniel (ed.) Toward a History of Archaeology: 100–111. London: Thames and Hudson.
Mitchell, T. 1988. Colonising Egypt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mitchell, T. 1989. The world as exhibition. Comparative Studies in Society and History 31: 217–236.
Montelius, O. 1897a. The Tyrrhenians in Greece and Italy. Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 26: 254–261.
Montelius, O. 1897b. Pre-classical chronology in Greece and Italy. Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 26: 261–270.
Murray, A.S. 1890. A vase of the Mykenai type in New York. American Journal of Archaeology and of the History of the Fine Arts 6: 437–444.
Myres, J.L. 1896a. Mykenaean civilization. The Classical Review 10: 350–357.
Myres, J.L. 1896b. Prehistoric man in the eastern Mediterranean. Science Progress 5: 335–359.
Myres, J.L. 1898. Tsountas and Manatt’s Mykenaean Age. The Classical Review 12: 181–183.
Myres, J.L. 1933. The Cretan labyrinth: a retrospect of Aegean research. The Huxley memorial lecture for 1933. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 63: 269–312.
Newton, C.T. 1880. Essays on Art and Archaeology. London: Macmillan and Co.
Patten, A. 2010. ‘The most natural state.’ Herder and nationalism. History and Political Thought 31: 657–689.
Peake, H. 1916. Racial elements concerned in the first siege of Troy. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 46: 154–172.
Penka, K. 1883. Origines Ariacae: Linguistisch-ethnologische Untersuchungen zur ältesten Geschichte der arischen Völker und Sprachen. Vienna and Teschen: K. Prochaska.
Penka, K. 1886. Die Herkunft der Arier. Neue Beiträge zur historischen Anthropologie der europäischen Völker. Vienna and Teschen: K. Prochaska.
Perrin, B. 1902. Review of W. Ridgeway, The Early Age of Greece, Vol. I. American Historical Review 7, 331–334.
Perrot, G. and C. Chipiez. 1894a. Histoire de l’Art dans l’Antiquité. VI. La Grèce primitive: L’Art mycénien. Paris: Hachette.
Perrot, G. and C. Chipiez. 1894b. History of Art in Primitive Greece. Mycenaean Art, Vol. 1. London: Chapman and Hall.
Perry, S. and D. Challis. 2013. Flinders Petrie and the curation of heads. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 38: 275–289.
Petrie, W.M.F. 1890a. The Egyptian bases of Greek history. Journal of Hellenic Studies 11: 271–277.
Petrie, W.M.F. 1890b. Excavations in the Fayûm. American Journal of Archaeology and of the History of the Fine Arts 6: 169–171.
Petrie, W.M.F. 1891. Notes on the antiquities of Mycenae. Journal of Hellenic Studies 12: 199–205.
Petrie, W.M.F. 1906. Migrations. The Huxley Lecture of 1906. London: Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland.
Phillips, J. 2006. Petrie, the ‘outsider looking on,’ in P. Darcque, M. Fotiadis and O. Polychronopoulou (eds) Mythos. La préhistoire égéenne du XIXe au XXIe siècle après J.-C. Actes de la table ronde internationale d’Athènes, 21-23 novembre 2002 (BCH Supplement 46): 143–157.
RBAAS. 1896. Report of the Sixty-sixth Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Liverpool, Sept. 1896. London: John Murray.
Reinach, S. 1893a. Le mirage oriental, 1ère partie. Influences de l’Orient sur l’Europe occidentale. L’Anthropologie 4: 539–578.
Reinach, S. 1893b. Le mirage oriental, 2eme partie. Influences de l’Égypte et de l’Assyrie sur l’Europe orientale. L’Anthropologie 4: 699–732.
Rénan, E. 1882. Qu’est qu’une nation? Conference faite en Sorbonne, le 11 Mars 1882 (text of lecture: http://www.iheal.univ-paris3.fr/sites/www.iheal.univ-paris3.fr/files/Renan_-_Qu_est-ce_qu_une_Nation.pdf. Accessed July 4, 2021).
Ridgeway, W. 1896. What people produced the objects called Mycenean? Journal of Hellenic Studies 16: 77–119.
Ritter, K. 1863. Geographical Studies. By the Late Professor Carl Ritter of Berlin. Translated from the Original German (Einleitung zur allgemeinen vergleichenden Geographie, Berlin, 1852), transl. W.L. Gage. Boston: Gould and Lincoln.
Schliemann, H. 1874. Trojanische Alterthümer. Bericht über die Ausgrabungen in Troja. Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus.
Schliemann, H. 1875. Troy and Its Remains. A Narrative of Researches and Discoveries Made on the Site of Ilium, and in the Trojan Plain. New York: Benjamin Blom.
Schliemann, H. 1880. Mycenæ; A Narrative of Researches and Discoveries at Mycenæ and Tiryns. New York: Benjamin Blom.
Schliemann, H. 1881. Ilios: The City and Country of the Trojans. The Results of Researches and Discoveries on the Site of Troy and through the Troad in the Years 1871-72-73-78-79. New York: Harper and Brothers.
Schliemann, H. 1884. Troja. Results of the Latest Researches and Discoveries on the Site of Homer’s Troy, 1882. New York: Harper and Brothers.
Schliemann, H. 2000. Ανταποκρίσεις από την Τροία. Athens: Okeanida.
Sekula, A. 1986. The body and the archive. October 39: 3–64.
Sheppard, K.L. 2010. Flinders Petrie and eugenics at UCL. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology 20 (1): 16–29.
Smith, A.D. 1999. Myths and Memories of the Nation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Smith, C. 1892. Egypt and Mycenaean antiquities. The Classical Review 6:, 462–466.
Sorensen, L. (ed.) n.d. Helbig, Wolfgang. Dictionary of Art Historians. http://www.arthistorians.info/ (last visited November 28, 2021).
Straum, M.S. 1995. Physiognomy and phrenology at the Paris Athénée. Journal of the History of Ideas 56: 443–462.
Taramelli, A. 1897. Cretan expedition VIII. The prehistoric grotto at Miamù. American Journal of Archaeology 1: 287–312.
Torr, C. 1892. Review of W. M. Finders Petrie, Illahun, Kahun and Gurob (London 1891). The Classical Review 6: 127–131.
Trautmann, T.R. 1992. The revolution in ethnological time. Man New Series 27: 379–397.
Tsountas, C. 1891. Εκ Μυκηνών. Αρχαιολογική Εφημερίς: 1–44.
Tsountas, C. 1893. Μυκήναι και Μυκηναίος πολιτισμός. Athens: Estia.
Tsountas, C. and J.I. Manatt. 1897. The Mycenaean Age. A Study of the Monuments and Culture of Pre-Homeric Greece. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company.
Virchow, R. 1883. Alttrojanische Gräber und Schädel. Berlin: Königliche Akademie der Wissenschaften.
Voutsaki, S. 2002. ‘The Greekness’ of Greek prehistory: an investigation of the debate 1876–1900. Pharos. Journal of the Netherlands Institute in Athens 10: 105–122.
Voutsaki, S. 2017. The Hellenization of the prehistoric past. The search for Greek identity in the work of Christos Tsountas, in S. Voutsaki and P. Cartledge (eds) Ancient Histories and Modern Identities. A Critical History of Archaeology in 19th and 20th Century Greece: 130–147. London and New York: Routledge.
Waterhouse, H. 1986. The British School at Athens: The First Hundred Years. British School at Athens, Supplementary Volume 19. London: Thames and Hudson.