Disassembling Archeology, Reassembling the Modern World

William Carruthers, Stéphane Van Damme

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This article provides a substantive discussion of the relevance of the history of archeology to the history of science. At the same time, the article introduces the papers contained in this special issue as exemplars of this relevance. To make its case, the article moves through various themes in the history of archeology that overlap with key issues in the history of science. The article discusses the role and tension of regimes of science in antiquarian and archeological practices, and also considers issues of scale and place, particularly in relation to the field. Additionally, the piece attends to issues of professionalization and the constitution of an archeological public, at the same time as discussing issues of empire, colonialism, and the circulation of knowledge. Meanwhile, enriching discussions within and beyond the history of science, the article discusses the history of archeology and its relationship with museums, collecting, and material culture and materiality. Finally, the piece discusses the relationship of the history of archeology with wider discussions about scientific ethics. In conclusion, the article questions whether we should speak of ‘the history of archeology’ at all.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-272
JournalHistory of Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

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