Archaeology and Modernity - download pdf or read online

By Julian Thomas

ISBN-10: 0415271576

ISBN-13: 9780415271578

This can be the 1st book-length examine to discover the connection among archaeology and smooth inspiration, displaying how philosophical rules that built within the 17th to 19th centuries nonetheless dominate our method of the cloth continues to be of old societies.

Addressing present debates from a brand new viewpoint, Archaeology and Modernity discusses the fashionable emphasis on procedure instead of ethics or which means, our realizing of swap in heritage and nature, the function of the geographical region in forming our perspectives of the previous, and modern notions of human individuality, the brain, and materiality.

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Extra resources for Archaeology and Modernity

Sample text

In Britain, rationalism and empiricism provided the intellectual milieu in which the Royal Society was formed, following the restoration of the monarchy, after the civil wars. That Charles II was favourable towards science was highly fortunate for the founders of the Society, for experimental science had been promoted by Puritan elements during the period of the Commonwealth. Empiricism was believed to show industriousness, in contrast with the slothful ways of the scholastics. The Royal Society followed this precedent, with a programme that was vigorous, optimistic, and at times grandiose.

Rather than mystical influence, the museum collection now enabled the observer to gain mastery over the things of the world from a position of exteriority, looking down on the array of specimens and appreciating their classificatory order (Hooper-Greenhill 1992: 45). The museum now became the world-picture, facilitating the understanding of a world that was expanding rapidly through commerce and colonialism. This desire to apprehend the world in its entirety was matched by new strategies of graphical representation.

With Descartes, the position of God was further marginalised, for the certainty of the existence of material things was now to be vested in human consciousness. All things could be assayed and measured, and humanity was to be the measure (and creator) of all things (Gray 1995: 153). Just as Descartes mistrusted the appearances of things, so he rejected the attempt to uncover the multiple connections and contexts in which things are embedded. In place of such a relational hermeneutics, he advocated the imposition of an order on the world (Foucault 1970: 74).

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Archaeology and Modernity by Julian Thomas

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