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Darwin-L Message Log 3:98 (November 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<3:98>From fisk@midway.uchicago.edu  Sun Nov 28 11:13:20 1993

Date: Sun, 28 Nov 93 11:15:59 CST
From: magnus fiskesjo <fisk@midway.uchicago.edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: hist of archaeology

Dear fellow readers of this list, I have just been informed of the existence
of this eminent list of yours, as a possible source of hints or advice on the
following problems:

It seems that John Locke was among the first Westerners to refer to
contemporary 'savages' in a scheme of universal history conceived as stages
of increasing Civilisation/Enlightenment. He is supposed to have written that
'in the beginning, all the world was America' (I am not sure where this was
written, but I think in 1687 or 1690, any reference to this is most welcomed).
Juxtaposing this with the views of human history and cultural diversity of
German thinkers such as J G Herder, it seems that the way Herder thought
everyone had their own culture as good as any Enlightened European (read:
French?) paved the way for archaeology - I am wondering whether Danes such as
Thomsen and Worsaae had read a lot of herder when they invented (read:applied
to museum collections) the three-age-system and archaeological stratigraphy
- if there had not been an urge to discover the roots of their Danish nation
inspired by Herderian thinking, and if they had not been inspired by the same
sort of thinking to regard even the makers of crude, ugly stone tools (ugh)
as glorious ancestors, instead of savages roaming in the dark a la Locke,
perhaps they would not have invented archaeology to the extent they did.
Any comments on this Locke-Enlightenment / Herder-Thomsen-Worsaae connection
are most welcome ...
Magnus Fiskesjo
U of Chicago

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