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Germany's Ancient PastsArchaeology and Historical Interpretation since 1700$
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Brent Maner

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226592916

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226593104.001.0001

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Professionalization and Nationalism in Domestic Archaeology

Professionalization and Nationalism in Domestic Archaeology

(p.227) Chapter Seven Professionalization and Nationalism in Domestic Archaeology
Germany's Ancient Pasts

Brent Maner

University of Chicago Press

After 1900, archaeologists, armed with advances in comparative methods and better dating techniques, moved from the work of collecting toward the task of interpretation. Scholars began to deliver more confident conclusions about the ancient past. The literature on archaeology in Germany has stressed the rise of nationalist, even chauvinistic interpretations, focusing especially on Gustaf Kossinna’s ethnic interpretations. This perspective resonated in nationalist circles, but most museum directors and professionals did not blindly follow Kossinna’s call to develop prehistory as “a preeminently national science.” Major examples include Hermann Jacob-Friesen at the Museum für die Provinz Hannover and Albert Kiekebusch at the Märkisches Museum in Berlin. Both men implemented instructive displays and pedagogical programs that retained connections to regional traditions in archaeology and empirical observation. After World War I, the influence of racial thought rose, and archaeologists attempted to map out the connections between peoples, races, and cultures. In this highly charged political atmosphere, many archaeologists continued to insist on cautious approaches, but they were also intrigued by questions of race, ethnicity, and identity.

Keywords:   Carl Schuchhardt, Karl Hermann Jacob-Friesen, Albert Kiekebusch, Märkisches Museum (Berlin), Gustaf Kossinna, settlement archaeology, racial studies

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