The Discovery of the Past: The Origins of Archaeology

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9780714117683: The Discovery of the Past: The Origins of Archaeology
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Examines the development of archaeology as a science and the process by which humankind developed an understanding of its past

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No society on earth has been without curiosity about its past, a trait that yields folklore and history. Alain Schnapp, a professor of archaeology at the University of Paris, looks at an allied curiosity: that about the things of a people's past. In this comprehensive, heavily illustrated history of early European archaeology, he looks at Greek and Roman ideas about what was to them antiquity; examines the first inklings of scientific archaeology in the Renaissance; and delves into the formation of the first professional archaeological societies in the 18th and 19th centuries. Schnapp writes with a keen eye for the telling anecdote, recounting, for instance, a German scholar's refuting a commonly held view that ancient burial urns had grown in potato fields by spontaneous generation. Schnapp makes occasional detours into archaeology on other continents, too.

Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

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