Archaeology in the Enlightenment

  • Roderick J. McIntoshEmail author
Living reference work entry


The late seventeenth century and much of the eighteenth witnessed the birth of an intense curiosity among Europeans in the ancient lives and products of peoples occupying the territories of modern western European nations. At this time one saw a continuation of the Renaissance obsession with the art and values of the classical world. In a few, exceptional cases, this curiosity was molded into something approaching a systematic form by Enlightenment-informed projects of cataloging a country’s or colony’s cultural and natural resources. Sadly, the activities subsurface that resulted from this curiosity was more often little more than unsystematic plunder. It would be fair to say that virtually no archaeological research, in the sense we today understand archaeology (i.e., the total and fully documented recovery of all artifacts, features and human modifications to the landscape, and the critical interpretation thereof), was conducted during the period (1690–1789) that was...

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Further Readings

  1. Gay, P. 1966. Enlightenment: An interpretation; the rise of modern paganism. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  2. Hankins, T.L. 1985. Science in the enlightenment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Lovejoy, Authur O. 1936. The great chain of being: A study of the history of an idea. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Manuel, F. E. 1965 (1962). Prophets of Paris: Turgot, Condorcet, Saint-Simon, Fouier, and Comte. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  5. Porter, R. 1990. The enlightenment. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Spencer, L., and A. Krauze. 1997. Introducing the enlightenment. New York: Totem Books.Google Scholar
  7. Stiebing, W.H. 1993. Uncovering the past. A history of archaeology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Trevor-Roper, H. 2010. History and the enlightenment, ed. John Robertson. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Trigger, B.G. 1989. A history of archaeological thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anke Hein
    • 1
  1. 1.School of ArchaeologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK