Printer Friendly
The Free Library
22,719,120 articles and books

Antiquity and the scope of archaeology. (Special section).

The beginnings of world archaeology

Our field is-the world, our range in time a million years or so, our subject the human race.

CRAWFORD 1927: 1

In this short paper I want to make several bold claims for ANTIQUITY, and for the achievement of the man who founded it in 1927, O.G.S. Crawford, and his successor Glyn Daniel Glyn Edmund Daniel (23 April, 1914–13 December, 1986) was a British archaeologist who specialised in the European Neolithic and made some of the earliest efforts to popularise the subject on radio and television. , who edited the journal from 1958 to 1986. For, in a world today with what seems like too many periodical publications and with numerous places for discussion, it is possible to overlook that for a whole generation ANTIQUITY was perhaps the only journal in the world which already had a vision of what was later to become world archaeology. Perhaps the full potential of a global view could fully be realized only with the development of radiocarbon dating (itself first brought to wide public attention in the pages of ANTIQUITY in 1949): its systematic application by Grahame Clark, one of Crawford's younger colleagues and a regular contributor from 1931, resulted in the publication in 1961 of World prehistory prehistory, period of human evolution before writing was invented and records kept. The term was coined by Daniel Wilson in 1851. It is followed by protohistory, the period for which we have some records but must still rely largely on archaeological evidence to , an outline, dedicated to the memory of Crawford and of V. Gordon Childe. But already, decades earlier, ANTIQUITY was blazing this global trail. To quote the concluding words of Crawford's autobiography Said and done (1955: 312):

I find it difficult to dissociate dis·so·ci·ate  
v. dis·so·ci·at·ed, dis·so·ci·at·ing, dis·so·ci·ates
1. To remove from association; separate:
 my views about the future of archaeology in general from the future of ANTIQUITY, for I want the one to reflect and influence the other. To some extent ANTIQUITY is already, just such an open forum. It has both readers and contributors in every country in the world, and when choosing a reviewer distance is no object. No other archaeological publication has this world-wide basis.

To justify that claim I would like to draw your attention to the very selective TABLE I of the date of first publication of various mainly archaeological publications, principally in the English language English language, member of the West Germanic group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Germanic languages). Spoken by about 470 million people throughout the world, English is the official language of about 45 nations. . I have divided them using the annus mirabilis an·nus mi·rab·i·lis  
n. pl. an·ni mi·ra·bi·les
A year notable for disasters or wonders; a fateful year: "Hungary's blood bath was the saddest event in that annus mirabilis" C.L.
 of 1859 (the year of Darwin's On the origin of species and of the establishment of the antiquity of humankind) and utilized also the boundaries offered by the dates of World War I and World War II. In general I have omitted local regional journals, despite their early date and frequently their excellence.

From this list it may indeed be claimed that ANTIQUITY was the first archaeological journal with a world-wide scope. Of course pride of place must go to the very early antiquarian an·ti·quar·i·an  
One who studies, collects, or deals in antiquities.

1. Of or relating to antiquarians or to the study or collecting of antiquities.

2. Dealing in or having to do with old or rare books.
 publications, such as those of the Society of Antiquaries of London The Society of Antiquaries of London (SAL) is a learned society, based in the United Kingdom, concerned with "the encouragement, advancement and furtherance of the study and knowledge of the antiquities and history of this and other countries".  (i.e. Archaeologia and Antiquaries Journal), but these were devoted primarily to English antiquarian studies. They continue today to have a mainly English bias and to deal to a significant extent with the surviving material culture of the Middle Ages and later periods. Other journals (such as Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland is the senior antiquarian body in Scotland, with its headquarters, collections, archive, and lecture theatre in the Royal Museum, Chambers Street, Edinburgh. The Society plays an important role in the cultural life and heritage of Scotland.  or Archaiologike Ephemeris ephemeris (ĭfĕm`ərĭs) (pl., ephemerides), table listing the position of one or more celestial bodies for each day of the year. ) were indeed pioneering journals, but devoted mainly to the archaeology of a single country. Certainly there were some early anthropological journals which reflected the world-wide scope and interests of 19th-century anthropology (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute; L'Anthropologie; American Anthropologist), but these were never primarily archaeological journals, although they did and still do contain important archaeological contributions.

It might have been argued that American Journal of Archaeology would be the first archaeological periodical to have a world-wide coverage, and such was indeed the stated intention of its founders (Renfrew 1980), but it soon developed a preoccupation with the classical and pre-classical archaeology of the Mediterranean lands. Thus it fell to ANTIQUITY, from its foundation year of 1927, to take on that innovatory role.

Since then, of course, it has been joined by several newcomers or even rivals. While American Antiquity is mainly (but not exclusively) devoted to the archaeology of the Americas The archaeology of the Americas is the study of the archaeology of North America, Central America (or Mesoamerica), South America and the Caribbean. This includes the study of pre-historic/Pre-Columbian and historic indigenous American peoples. , the coup in 1935 at the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia East Anglia (ăng`glēə), kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England, comprising the modern counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. It was settled in the late 5th cent. by so-called Angles from northern Germany and Scandinavia. , engineered by Grahame Clark and C.W. Phillips (Crawford 1955: 251), by which the designation `East Anglia' was dropped and that body became a national society (of which Crawford became President in 1938), produced another journal with an often international outlook, edited by Clark: Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. But this was still a journal produced by a learned society whose interests were predominantly focused upon a single continent: Europe. It can indeed be argued that ANTIQUITY did not find a true rival with a worldwide coverage until 1948, when the Archaeological Institute of America The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) is a North American nonprofit organization devoted to the promotion of public interest in archaeology, and the preservation of archaeological sites. It is based at Boston University.  initiated a new popular journal Archaeology (some 63 years after the institution of the American Journal of Archaeology). With the arrival of the popular French periodical Archeologia in 1964 and then of World Archaeology in 1969 there were other runners in the field.

The editorship of Glyn Daniel from 1958 to 1986 maintained this worldwide coverage, and brought a new flavour to the journal, with Glyn's own keen eye for the foibles of humanity and with his delicious wit. The tenure of Christopher Chippindale Christopher Chippindale (born 1951) is a British archaeologist, most well-known for his work on Stonehenge. He is Reader in Archaeology and Curator for British Collections at the Museum of archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge University.  admirably reinforced the global coverage, with a more pronounced emphasis upon American archaeology and with a special interest in Australia and the Pacific. That coverage has subsequently been well maintained under the editorship of Caroline Malone Caroline Malone is a British academic and archaeologist currently teaching at Hughes Hall, Cambridge, UK. Prior to this she was editor of Antiquity and Keeper of the Department of Prehistory and Early Europe at the British Museum.  and Simon Stoddart.

Crawford was concerned to develop not only a worldwide coverage in his new journal. He wanted also to develop a worldwide readership, and he succeeded in doing so. At that time there were few professionals in the field of archaeology, and so the journal was directed towards a non-specialist audience: of course the readers would have to be seriously interested, but the level was that of a serious reader of the broadsheet newspapers of the day, not of the committed specialist. As he later expressed his intention (Crawford 1936b: 386):

What I had in mind was to found a journal which would raise the general status of archeology, and would popularize pop·u·lar·ize  
tr.v. pop·u·lar·ized, pop·u·lar·iz·ing, pop·u·lar·iz·es
1. To make popular: A famous dancer popularized the new hairstyle.

 its achievements without vulgarizing them w in a word which would take a place equivalent (both in form and content) to that already occupied by the monthlies and quarterlies in regard to public affairs Those public information, command information, and community relations activities directed toward both the external and internal publics with interest in the Department of Defense. Also called PA. See also command information; community relations; public information.  generally. The main outlines of the evolution of human culture are now firmly established, and it was time that this knowledge should become diffused. But it seemed nobody's business to diffuse it. Here was a demand without a supply. I decided to supply it.

There can be no doubt that he succeeded: as Sir Mortimer Wheeler Noun 1. Sir Mortimer Wheeler - Scottish archaeologist (1890-1976)
Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler, Wheeler
 said, in an article written shortly after Crawford's death in 1957 (Wheeler 1958: 4):`He was our greatest archaeological publicist; he taught the world about scholarship, and scholars about one another'. And he quoted Crawford's own words: `You know, I am a journalist. What I want is simple clear-minded stuff that any intelligent fool can understand'.

These qualities were celebrated by Jacquetta Hawkes Jacquetta Hawkes, née Hopkins, (August 5 1910 – March 18 1996) was a British archaeologist. The daughter of Nobel Prize-winning scientist, Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, she married first Christopher Hawkes, then an Assistant Keeper at the British Museum, in 1933. , an6ther great communicator, in 1951 as she reviewed the approaching first quarter-century of ANTIQUITY (Hawkes 1951). They were possessed in ample measure by Crawford's successor as Editor, Glyn Daniel, and indeed by Wheeler himself. Wheeler and Daniel were chosen as `Television Personality of the Year' in successive years in the 1950s, following the success of the television quiz programme Animal, Vegetable Mineral?. Glyn Daniel shared Crawford's aptitude for communicating ideas in an informative yet non-technical way: a process which he sometimes termed `haute vulgarisation'. But the process implied for him none of the lofty intellectualism in·tel·lec·tu·al·ism  
1. Exercise or application of the intellect.

2. Devotion to exercise or development of the intellect.

 which that term might seem to suggest. For Glyn the pervasive fascination was people, living individuals, and especially archaeologists, and his editorials always had up-to-date news, personalia, about the dramatis personae dram·a·tis per·so·nae  
1. The characters in a play or story.

2. A list of the characters in a play or story.

[Latin dr
 of the archaeological world. Crawford and Daniel both had the key gift for a communicator: they were readable, and the nub See newbie.  of their readability was their own intense interest in their subject matter.

The aspirations of ANTIQUITY: early processual approaches

Today ANTIQUITY seems exceptional mainly for its global coverage, as noted below and in the paper by Chippindale, although it must be admitted that neither Crawford himself nor his mentors (including V.G. Childe) was closely interested in the archaeology of the Americas. But Crawford's own statement of his aims, as expressed in the peroration per·o·rate  
intr.v. per·o·rat·ed, per·o·rat·ing, per·o·rates
1. To conclude a speech with a formal recapitulation.

2. To speak at great length, often in a grandiloquent manner; declaim.
 of his autobiography, makes other claims also. On reflection we can see that these too are true, and that many of the features which then seemed novel have now become so routine, so much a part of our thinking, that we no longer notice their novelty, or appreciate how radical they must have seemed in 1927.

As Crawford (1955: 311) put it:

I wanted first of all to rescue prehistoric archaeology History is the study of the past using written records. Archaeology can also be used to study the past alongside history. Prehistoric archaeology is the study of the past before historical records began.  from the dilettantism dil·et·tante  
n. pl. dil·et·tantes also dil·et·tan·ti
1. A dabbler in an art or a field of knowledge. See Synonyms at amateur.

2. A lover of the fine arts; a connoisseur.

 of object-worshippers, to get at the people of the past and their manner of living by an application of scientific methods and modern technique ... As a geographer I wanted to set prehistoric man prehistoric man: see human evolution.  in his environment and that led to maps and the distributional method. I remember feeling at the start that we could not begin to understand prehistoric Britain
    Prehistoric Britain was a period in the human occupation of Great Britain that extended throughout prehistory, ending with the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43. Preface
     until we had found by means of distribution maps where the inhabitants lived and how far the areas of settlement were controlled by the factors of soil, evolution and climate ...

    All that was needed now was a place to publish the work of those of us who were thinking along the same lines. ANTIQUITY provided this, and it was perhaps the most important item in the programme. For it gave me and others the means of publicizing our discoveries and our view and it gave them the prestige that was needed in that of a journal that was something more than provincial or professional.

    Crawford was himself a pioneer in the archaeological use of air-photography: his Wessex from the Airwas published in 1928. Above all, he was an exponent of field archaeology, that is to say of field survey and the distributional study of archaeological sites. These were interests which developed from his study of geography at university and from his work as the first Archaeology Officer of the Ordnance Survey (the official national cartographic car·tog·ra·phy  
    The art or technique of making maps or charts.

    [French cartographie : carte, map (from Old French, from Latin charta, carta, paper made from papyrus
     survey of the British Isles). His Notes on archaeologj4 for guidance in the field, published in 1921 for the use of people who were helping the Ordnance Survey voluntarily, formed the basis for his Archaeology in the field (1953) which we can recognize today as one of the pioneering works of landscape archaeology.

    ANTIQUITY was conceived `as the organ of the very live and active group of archaeologists then working in England' (Crawford 1955: 175). Among the new friendships which Crawford established in the year 1925 were those with Nowell Myres, Christopher Hawkes and Gordon Childe--`I had been influenced more by his writings than by any other person' (Crawford 1955: 174). Others whom he knew well were R.G. Collingwood and R.E.M. (later Sir Mortimer) Wheeler. The intellectual climate of the period is perhaps difficult for us to assess today: it was only in the years immediately preceding the foundation of ANTIQUITY that it first became possible to follow a degree course in Archaeology as such at any British university--at Cambridge and at Edinburgh--and there were few takers. So the intellectual preoccupations of the time are probably best assessed from the pages of the early years of ANTIQUITY itself.

    The early years

    The wide geographical range and the processual scope of those early years is well indicated by a selection of some of the authors and titles who were publishing in ANTIQUITY at that time (TABLE 2). For although up to half the articles related to topics in British or European archaeology, the other half ranged in their subject matter (and sometimes their authorship) well beyond the British Isles.

    The geographical spread of the articles is evident from this listing. However, it takes a reading of the papers themselves to judge how far the authors had gone beyond what Crawford had called `the dilettantism of object-worshippers', and successfully addressed broader themes, some of which dealt with issues of environmental archaeology and the workings of culture process.

    However, although it is possible to represent the interests of Crawford and of many of those who wrote for ANTIQUITY in the early years as in some senses what a later generation of archaeologists would call `processual'--and this is well borne out by Childe's Man makes himself published in 1936 and reviewed by Crawford (1936c) in the same year--they were nonetheless still imprisoned by the rigorous requirements of chronology. For until there could be found a source for chronology which was independent of prior assumptions about contacts between cultures and about the alleged working of diffusionist principles, that underlying preoccupation about the need for dating was always present. The point was expressed by Crawford (1936a: 1) with remarkably clear insight already in an editorial in the tenth volume of ANTIQUITY:

    Modern archaeology is primarily concerned with two main problems:--To construct a secure and rigid chronological framework, and to determine the extent and relationship of cultures. The former is itself a prime necessity, but it is also inextricably in·ex·tri·ca·ble  
    a. So intricate or entangled as to make escape impossible: an inextricable maze; an inextricable web of deceit.

     interwoven in·ter·weave  
    v. in·ter·wove , in·ter·wo·ven , inter·weav·ing, inter·weaves
    1. To weave together.

    2. To blend together; intermix.

     with the latter; and as soon as we begin to investigate the precise relation of one culture to another in a separate region, we are at once confronted with the fascinating mysteries of diffusion. Where were certain technical devices invented? How did they spread over the world? These mysteries deserve the closest scrutiny for it is the business of science to dispel such (not to mystify). Furthermore, the same process of diffusion is still active and therefore of current interest.

    As remarked at the beginning of this short paper, this Gordian knot was not cut until the moment where the impact of radiocarbon dating offered the possibility of an independent chronological framework and hence of a true world archaeology. Once again, Crawford the journalist as well as Crawford the archaeologist was on the ball and on the spot. He recognized the significance of the discovery, and he ensured that it was announced first in ANTIQUITY. As Sir Mortimer Wheeler (1958: 2) later wrote, shortly after Crawford's death, of an evening together:

    We ... talked as we walked across Oxford one night in 1949 after an evening in the Senior Common Room of Christ Church. There Lord Cherwell, who had just come back from America, told us for the first time of the new radiocarbon method of dating ancient organic substances--probably the first occasion on which this tremendous discovery was mentioned in this country, at any rate to an archaeologist. I remember how Crawford's eyes lighted up as the conversation proceeded, and how under his breath he whispered to me, `It's a scoop'. And so it was. It made the next editorial in ANTIQUITY and opened a new era.
    TABLE 1. The date of first publication of selected
    archaeological journals.
    Before 1859
    1770    Archaeologia
    1821    Atti della Pontificia Academia Romana di
    1843    Archaeologische Zeitung (later Jahrbuch
            der k. Deutschen archaologischen
    1844    Antiquaries Journal
    1851    Proceedings oft he Society of Antiquaries
            of Scotland
    After 1859 until 1914
    1862    Archaiologike Ephemeris
    1872    Journal of the Royal Anthropological
            Institute (from 1901 to 1994 published as
    1885    American Journal of Archaeology
    1888    American Anthropologist (from 1882-87
            Transactions of the Anthropological
            Society of Washington)
    1890    L'Anthropologie
    1892    Journal of the Polynesian Society
    1904    Bulletin de la Societe Prehistorique
    1906    Anthropos
    1908    Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of
            East Anglia
    1914    Journal of Egyptian Archaeology
    From 1918 to 1939
    1919    Bulletin of the American Schools of
            Oriental Research
    1927    ANTIQUITY
    1934    Iraq
    1935    American Antiquity
    1935    Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
    After 1945
    1946    Ancient India
    1948    Archaeology
    1958    Archaeometry
    1960    Current Anthropology
    1964    Archeologia (Paris)
    1967    Current Archaeology
    1969    World Archaeology
    1974    Journal of Field Archaeology
    TABLE 2. Early World Archaeology: selected titles from the first four
    volumes of ANTIQUITY.
    Volume I (1927)
    Raymond Firth                   Maori hill forts
    Gordon Childe                   The Danube thoroughfare and the
                                    beginnings of civilisation in Europe
    E.A. Hooton                     Where did Man originate?
    Randall MacIver                 The Etruscans
    Flight Lt. Maitland             The `Work of the Old Men' in Arabia
    H.A. Sayce                      The Aryan problem--fifty years later
    E. Cecil Curwen                 Prehistoric agriculture in Britain
    R.G. Collingwood                Oswald Spengler and the Theory of
                                    Historical Cycles
    G. Caton Thompson               Explorations in the Neolithic Fayum
    H.M. Hilton Simpson             Algerian hill-forts of today
    C.E.P. Brooke                   The climate of prehistoric Britain
    Volume II (1928)
    C. Leonard Woolley              The Royal Tombs at Ur
    T. Zammit                       Prehistoric cart tracks in Malta
    H.R. Hall                       The discoveries at Ur and the seniority
                                    of Sumerian civilisation
    Eric Thompson                   The `Children of the Sun' and Central
    Douglas Newbold                 Rock-pictures and archaeology in the
                                    Libyan desert
    Gerard de Geer                  Geochronology
    D. Talbot Rice                  The monasteries of Mount Athos
    J.M. de Navarro                 Massilia and early Celtic culture
    Volume III (1929)
    Count Begouen                   The magic origin of prehistoric art
    Georg Kraft                     The origin of the Kelts
    Henri Martin                    The Solutrean sculptures of Le Roc
    O.G.S. Crawford                 Durrington Walls
    M.C. Burkitt                    Rock carvings in the Italian Alps
    Christopher Hawkes              The Roman siege at Masada
    Ch. Virolleaud                  The Syrian town of Katna and the
                                    Kingdom of Mitanni
    J.H. Hutton                     Assam megaliths
    Group-Captain L.W.B. Rees vc    The Transjordan desert
    G. Caton Thompson               Zimbabwe
    Oscar Reuther                   The German excavations at Ctesiphon
    Guy Brunton                     The origins of Egyptian civilisation
    Volume IV (1930)
    Sir T. Zammit                   The prehistoric remains of the Maltese
    H.J. Randall                    Population and agriculture in Roman
                                    Britain: a reply
    R.E. Mortimer Wheeler           Mr. Collingwood and Mr. Randall: a note
    E. Cecil Curwen                 Prehistoric flint sickles
    Sir Flinders Petrie             The linking of Egypt and Palestine
    J. Leslie Mitchell              The end of the Maya Old Empire
    L.A. Cammiade & M.C Burkitt     Fresh light on the Stone Ages in
                                    Southeast India
    Oscar Reuther                   Recent discoveries in Persia, a review
    J. Leslie Mitchell              Yucatan: New Empire tribes and culture
    F.A. Schaeffer                  The French excavations in Syria


    CHILDE, V.G. 1936. Man makes himself. London: Watts & Co.

    CRAWFORD, O.G.S. 1936a. Editorial Notes, Antiquity 10:1 1936b. Editorial Notes, Antiquity 10: 385-90. 1936c. Human progress: a review (of V.G. Childe, Man makes himself), Antiquity 10: 391-404. 1949. Editorial, Antiquity 23: 112. 1953. Archaeology in the field. London: Phoenix House. 1955. Said and done, the autobiography of an archaeologist. London: Phoenix House.

    CRAWFORD, O.G.S. & A. KEILLER. 1928. Wessex from the air. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

    HAWKES, J. 1951. A quarter century of ANTIQUITY, Antiquity 25: 171-3.

    RENFREW, C. 1980. The great tradition versus the great divide: archaeology as anthropology?, American Journal of Archaeology 84: 287-98.

    WHEELER, R.E.M. 1958. Crawford and ANTIQUITY, Antiquity 32: 3-4.

    COLIN RENFREW, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research is a research institute of the University of Cambridge in England. History
    The Institute was established in 1990 through a generous benefaction from the late Dr D. M. McDonald, a well-known and successful industrialist.
    , Downing Street, Cambridge cB2 3ER, England.
    COPYRIGHT 2002 Antiquity Publications, Ltd.
    No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
    Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

     Reader Opinion




    Article Details
    Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
    Author:Renfrew, Colin
    Geographic Code:4EUUK
    Date:Dec 1, 2002
    Previous Article:Opening comments for the 75th anniversary of Antiquity, SAA meeting, Denver (CO) 2002. (Special section).
    Next Article:Antiquity--the first 75 years. (Special section).

    Related Articles
    Archaeology in Greek higher education.
    Ancestral Archives: explorations in the history of archaeology.
    On the international roots of prehistory.
    Another perspective. (Special section).
    Looking out at Antiquity, from England to the world, 1927-2028. (Special section).
    Antiquity and the Old World. (Special section).
    Centres and peripheries amongst archaeologists--archaeological theory after communism. (Debate).
    Archaeology at St Petersburg University (from 1724 until today).

    Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters