Archaeology and Modernity - download pdf or read online

By Julian Thomas

ISBN-10: 0415271576

ISBN-13: 9780415271578

This can be the 1st book-length research to discover the connection among archaeology and glossy idea, exhibiting how philosophical rules that constructed within the 17th to 19th centuries nonetheless dominate our method of the fabric is still of historical societies.

Addressing present debates from a brand new viewpoint, Archaeology and Modernity discusses the fashionable emphasis on procedure instead of ethics or that means, our figuring out of swap in heritage and nature, the function of the countryside in forming our perspectives of the prior, and modern notions of human individuality, the brain, and materiality.

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Sample text

On this basis, Newton contrived to argue both that there was a real order in nature, and that it could be fully comprehended by the systematic gathering of sensory evidence (Cassirer 1951: 8). Like Descartes, Newton imagined the structure of the universe to be something like a complex mechanism. On the other hand, he also believed that this mechanism was effectively regulated by God, who, having created the cosmos, actively intervened in its preservation (Coley 1991b: 223). Most significantly, Newton followed Copernicus and Galileo in arguing that there was a single universe which obeyed a uniform set of laws (Pickstone 2000: 87).

Yet we should remember that before taking on this task in 1816 Thomsen had studied in Paris, and had already classified collections of coins and medals. While numismatic research would have helped him to recognise the ways in which the form of artefacts changes through time, it is equally probable that exposure to the academic environment of Napoleonic France would have brought Thomsen into contact with the historical philosophies of the Enlightenment. What Thomsen was able to do was to take the speculative history of technology that Mahudel and others had proposed and use it as a basis for ordering an assemblage of artefacts into a chronological succession.

This desire to apprehend the world in its entirety was matched by new strategies of graphical representation. The ‘realistic’ images of architecture and landscape that were made possible by linear perspective have been linked by a number of authors to the development of the object/subject dichotomy, and the separation between people and things fostered by capitalist economic relations (Berger 1972: 16; Cosgrove 1984). We can identify a connection between this kind of art and the naturalistic depiction of objects in science, including the convention of drawing things to scale (Pickstone 2000: 63).

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Archaeology and Modernity by Julian Thomas


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