Talk:Archaeology/Archive 1

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Regarding Thor Hyerdahl...I'd say he's more of an anthropologist than an archaeologist. Remember, all archaeologists are anthropologists, but not all anthropologists are archaeologists. At least in the U.S. that is.

--->Susan
Skeeter451

Please don't take down the link to the /Talk page.

Ammendment by guerilla1138: I hate to correct others so I will just add this. I dont see Archaeology as being the study of what we can learn about human cultures as much as the study of human cultures, and I would also say that in archaeology those studies are only limited to pre-cultures, meaning those cultures before this one. Where as the study of todays cultures and also older cultures I would classify as cultural anthropology. But I am not an expert nor am I trained in either of these fields, just stating my opinion based on limited experiance of working in the Maxwell Museum on the University of New Mexico campus and attending a few archaeology and anthropology classes with friends at said university.

The above sort of comment belongs on a /Talk page, not the main page. See Wikipedia policy and keep exploring...


I notice that you've removed the text "typically from their physical remains (such as masonry, pottery, coins, engravings, and the like)" twice. This must mean that you think there's something wrong with this. I'm not an archaeologist, but I always thought that this was really quite essential to archaeology. Am I wrong? --Larry Sanger

Actually, I'm quite sure I'm right. Have a look at this article: http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/9/0,5716,9369+1+9259,00.html?query=archaeology

Response to Larry: Physical remains are archaeological data, yes, but I'm wary of focusing on them in a definition. I'd rather get away from the "Indiana Jones" mentality that a lot of the general public - at least in the U.S. - seems to have. It's tough to get people past the idea that archaeologists look for neat "things" for the sake of the things themselves. In American archaeology, at least, material objects are only important insofar as they convey information about the people who made and used them. There's a huge range of other archaeological evidence that's just as important as material objects. Besides, the list of examples in the quoted text is not very illuminating, unless you're talking about a pretty narrow range of times and places. Most of the listed artifact types are not found in a significant percentage of the world's archaeological sites. So why didn't I just construct a better list? Any list will inevitably leave something out. In a short definition, I'd rather focus on the goals of the discipline than on one part of the method. Or maybe it's just an idiosyncrasy :). - Pemerson

Given the Britannica article, I'm betting it's an idiosyncracy.  :-) The list was parenthetical, after all, and of course physical remains are a sine qua non of archaeological work. Talking about archaeology without mentioning the physical remains of cultures is a little like talking about music without mentioning musical instruments. Sure, you can do it, but it's kind of funny not to. So, why not just choose the artifact types that happen to be most common? I don't know what they are, so you'll have to change the list. --LS

Ah, there is our difficulty. IMHO, the Britannica definition does not apply well at all to modern American archaeology. The authors seem to have missed some major changes that took place about 30 years ago. (Not to denigrate E.B., but when the first few paragraphs were circulated among my colleagues, they inspired reactions ranging from head-shaking to outright laughter.) Note that Britannica defines archaeology as the study of "remains" - not the study of human cultures, which is what it is in the Americas. For a non-scholarly alternative, see the Society for American Archaeology at http://www.saa.org/Whatis/index.html. My essential objection to the text I removed is this: there has been more than enough emphasis on archaeology as the study of physical remains - as though that is a goal instead of a method. It is an impression that is stuck in the popular imagination and, frankly, it continually causes problems. I hoped to have an opportunity here to present a definition that might make people stop and think precisely because it didn't mention artifacts. ("Archaeology - it's not just about artifacts anymore.") Maybe I need to spin off a new page specifically on American archaeology. - pemerson (BTW - noticed your correction to my spelling of "idiosyncra**". I had yours originally but checked and discovered the "sy" version prevails, at least with Webster and American Heritage. Creeping Americanism, I guess.)


One option is to admit that archaeology may have once been about artifacts but recently is about something else. Use headers to divide the entry into 'the history of archaeology' and what you're calling 'American archaeology' - is that, by the way, archaeology as practiced in America, by Americans, on ancient American sites, or what? I admit that I, myself, only read Medieval archaeology for professional purposes, but the adjective there is much clearer.


I've tried to give a bit more of a rounded impression, but I fear I may have gone a bit overboard, particularly in para 3 - but that some (or indeed many) archaeologists are barrow pushing is something that's often forgotten. I would really like to put this link in: http://202.84.17.11/english/htm/20001218/273470.htm (see the bit about bejing in the middle of the page) but it probably is a bit un-NPOV.

A few paras on human heritage would be good - as I read things this is very much the point. I can't express these ideas cleanly right now, but I think a statement to the effect of heritage being importnat to most people and archaeiology being ther study of this heritage might be good. I'm not sure if "heritage" is exactly the right word.

Probably a separate article on field archaeology and field techniques would not go astray. A para on most stuff found being detritus would be good as well. - Iwnbap

this is much improved! Thanks! Oh - and I don't find paragraph 3 at all problematic, especially the 'original settler' kind of use and abuse of the past. --MichaelTinkler

Concerning Thor Heyerdahl -- I do not know much about his career, but for current purposes, he is better characterized as an archeologist than as a cultural anthropologist (to characterize him merely as an anthropologist only begs the question, what kind of anthropologist). He trained in Geology and Zoology, and has worked in museums, but I do not believe he has a degree in either anthropology or archeology, and I do not know whether he had a position in an anthropology department.

He is seldom mentioned in cultural anthropology textbooks. When he is mentioned in archeology textbooks, it is as an example of "experimental archeology," reconstructing past practices by using past technologies. All textbooks make the same criticism of experimental archeology in general and Heyerdahl's work in particular: it reveals what is possible, but adds nothing to our knowledge of what actually happened. SR

Alright. I didn't realize he had any degrees at all - I thought of him as a journalist of sorts. MichaelTinkler
  • Heyerdahl should certainly be disscussed somewhere, but I really think it's misleading to list him an archaeologist. He did some ethnographic work (though that's not what he's best known for), but I think it's stretching the definition too far to call him an archaeologist. Infrogmation

On preconceptions influencing archaeology: an example near and dear to my own heart is the excavations of Jeannine Davis-Kimball in Kazakstan. She uncovered a number of female bodies in the kurgan which had been buried with weapons. Some archaeologists presumed immediately that the weappons were there for ceremonial/religious purposes. Dr. Davis-Kimball observed that, had the bodies been male, archaeologists would have immediately presumed that the weaponry was indicative of the former owner's status as a warrior! To be fair, bias exists the other way as well, with some over-eager attempts to extrapolate the role of women in that society from very little data. I fear, however, that this might be too contentious a point to include in the Wikipedia article proper. -- April

I think the "patricarchal" example (i.e. men=hunters, women=gatherers as a theory now demolished) is a simple potted example of this; if you could formulate your example into something more immediate and referenced[!] of something similar that would be very good. Iwnbap



(1/14/03) The problem is that Archaeology is a part of Anthropology in America, but not in much of Europe, where it's a History. Most archaelogists there still see archaeology as nothing more than the collecting of neat things for the purpose of collecting neat things. You find a coin, you catelogue it, and you fit it into your historical timeline, but you [i]don't[/i] ask "what does this coin tell me about their culture?" It may be necessary to add a section discussing the differences between American and European archaeology. -- Zach

I agree that it is worth clarifying the differences, Slrubenstein
I agree also, but it is quite untrue to suggest that in Europe, archaeology is simply a subdivision of history. There is far more to it than that. The fact is that, because of the comparatively short period of recorded history in America, the anthropological aspect takes on a greater importance there, whereas in Europe, prehistory and recorded history are of roughly equal importance, though they necessarily call for different archaeological techniques. I'll also have to take issue with your reference to "England" in the article, when you clearly mean Britain. Deb
I think Deb is on to something, but I question the reasoning. It is true that the written record in the Americas, with a few exceptions, is only about 500 years. But human beings have been in the Americas for probably fewer than 40,000 years. The written record in Europe goes back much further -- but so does human occupation of Europe. If we compare the difference between the ratio of written record for human occupation, I am not sure if the two places are so different. To claim that the archeological record is of more importance in the Americas but of equal importance in Europe is logocentric/Eurocentric, I think.
Also, many US archeologists work outside of the Americas (in the Near East, even in Europe) just as European archeologists are not limited to working in Europe.
That said, there still are differences in the place and self-conception of archeology in Europe and the US, and it is worth exploring reasons. As an archeologist, andthropologist, or historian might suspect, the real reasons for these differences may diverge from the reasons US or European archeologists might themselves give. My guess is that it has a lot more to do with institutional politics -- who controled academic positions and funding for research. But this is just a guess; who has done research on this? Maybe George Stocking? I do not know. Slrubenstein
With all due respect to Deb, and apologies, I deleted the following text from the article:
This often depends on the nature of the sites available for investigation -- for example, what proportion of them fall into the category of prehistory, to what extent have they been built over, what technological resources are available to archaeologists, etc.
because I do not know what the evidence for this claim is. Part of NPOV is resisting our own views and placing in articles established views. If archeologists themselves have made this argument, or historians, I would have no problem with putting it back in.
In the meantime, I do agree completely that the article should specify differences between US archeology and archeology in other countries. But I just don't find this explanation satisfactory. The nature of sites in Europe in no way preclude American-styled archeology; American styled archeology is applied to historical sites in the US as well. Slrubenstein
Well, I am an archaeologist, albeit amateur. I don't mind that sentence of mine being removed, because I only put it in as a replacement for what was there already - the bit about archaeology being somehow different in "England". You're right that the differences in technique don't actually make a difference to what constitutes archaeology - but then I don't accept that there is really a great difference between the American way of doing it and the European way. However, there is a big difference between, for example, how you go about excavating a mesolithic site and how you go about excavating a Roman one. And even Roman and mesolithic happen in different centuries depending which country you're in. What I'm trying to say, I suppose, is that, if you don't have much "history" available, then you'll be thrown back on "anthropology". Likewise, if you don't have the opportunity to work in the Olduvai Gorge, you'll be thrown back on coin-collecting. It's all relative, really. Does any of that make sense to you - or to Zach, or anyone else who's interested? --Deb
Yes this makes sense. I think there are really three issues here, each of which belong in the article but I think should be treated separately. If you want to have a go at it, please do so!
  1. different techniques for surface surveys and excavations that vary with the kind of site (e.g. Roman vs. paleolithic vs. Inkan)
  2. different styles of research and writing (e.g. the difference between American Antiquity and the comparable British journal; do many Brits publish in AA? Do many Yanks publish in British journals? Are articles more analytic or descriptive; expository or argumentative? What are the larger theoretical purposes of archeology -- of what use is it? (to reconstruct past events, or to reconstruct a past way of life? On both sides of the Atlantic archeologists have had to articulate with other anthropological and historical research, but perhaps in different ways.))
  3. different institutional arrangements in different countries: do archeologists hold positions in anthropology departments, or classics, or history? Are archeologists trained by (besides other archologists) anthropologists, historians, or classicists? Who controls funding?
Does this make sense? I am not an archeologist, although I have some decent general knowledge -- could others address these three points knowledgably, and substantively? Slrubenstein
I agree, there's plenty of food for thought there... --Deb
yeah, I guess it is a lot... Perhaps the first thing to do (if you agree with me about the above three points) is to think about the general structure of the article, provide sub-headings, and locate places in the article where these three points could be discussed; that might encourage others to contribute bit by bit. Since you are an archeologist (albeit amateur) I would defer to you, Slrubenstein
I must say that, up to now, I've been deliberately not adding much to the main article because it appears to be more than a little controversial. What would you say to separate pages dealing with the situation in different countries/continents, which would cover at least some of the ground we want to cover? For example, I could write on "Archaeology in the UK" (history of, education and training, favoured techniques, etc), but I wouldn't feel qualified to write on "Archaeology in the USA". But would anyone then be interested in reading the separate articles? --Deb
Well, I know there are US students who train in Britain; UK professors who lecture in the US; and so on -- ultimately, I would hate to see the field broken up in different articles when there are so many connections. On the other hand you are quite right that there are different institutional histories and arrangements. Do you think we could have one article with different sections?
The article itself is only vaguely historical, focussing mostly on how archeology is practiced in the present (and as you say mainly in the Americas). How about a brief and general introduction, followed by different sections that focus on different time periods in different places (say, 19th century through WWII). followed by a general section on contemporary trends? Slrubenstein
Possible. Some of the potential headings are already there as redirects. I wouldn't like to see the main page get too big. We're almost going back to square one with this, now, aren't we? But I think it's right to reassess at this stage, otherwise we'll get nowhere. --Deb
Well, I do not mean to be obstructionist. The problem is, "archeology" is not a specific institution like law or government. There may be something particular about archeological excavations in the UK, and there may be something particular about archeologists who have been trained, and hold positions, in the UK. But "archeology" is an idea and I would hate to reduce it to local manifestations. I mean, we aren't going to have an article on "the history of medicine in the UK" and another article on "the history of medicine in the US" even though the health institutions of the two countries are organized differently, and even though US and UK phsyicians have all made important discoveries.
I think the real issue is , how detailed would such historical articles get? I didn't think too much detail would be needed, if the purpose is to 1) explain how we got from there to here and 2) help orient people, if they are reading a journal publishe din one country or another, or applying for graduate schools. Also, I do not object to relatively long articles since this is web-based and we are not wasting paper.
of course, it is always easy to divide an article or to combine two articles -- so whatever we decide now it is far from irrevocable. There is nothing wrong with working on one article and splitting it later if it gets unweildly -- or on working on two or three articles now and combining them later if it seems appropriate.
The fundamental issue is, what is the purpose of this article? That will determine what should be included here or be put elsewhere, and also how the contents of this article should be organized. I myself tend to be ecumenical and inclusive. What were you thinking? Slrubenstein
I'm not disagreeing at all. I tend to think that sub-fields like "Industrial Archaeology" belong elsewhere (partly because those who work in such fields are specialists), subjects like "Excavation techniques" also belong elsewhere because of the level of detail they need to include (ultimately), and of course "lists" need to be separated off.
Other than that, I would like to keep an open mind, but I just know that if I make any generalised statements about archaeology on the basis of my own knowledge, it will be argued over by those with different experience. Having said that, I'll try and make a start. --Deb
sounds great! Slrubenstein
I've got a feeling the layout and headings I've just put in may be a bit too "traditional" for some people's taste. And I'm not sure that the "Regions of archaeology" section is fulfilling a real need, even though some of them have already been created as articles. What does it really mean? Views, please, from anyone who is interested... --Deb

List of years in archaeology

I'm not necessarily opposed to the inclusion of news items as external links, but the page could get out of control very quickly unless they are regularly weeded. Comments? Deb 17:56, 9 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a link repository. I think the links should be more general, perhaps to prestigious archeology organisations or departments. Perhaps the links to the news archives should stay, but I don't believe we should try to be a news archive ourselves. -- sannse 18:23, 9 Aug 2003 (UTC)


Perhaps an alternative idea could be to have a page like Archeology in 2003 which summarized archeological news items. --Imran 14:05, 16 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I've made a fairly feeble start on this at List of years in archaeology by completely ripping off List of years in science. It could do with some input from people with broader interests than myself, mind. Penfold 12:05, Mar 29, 2004 (UTC)

Hancock!?

Sorry folks but I couldn't stomach seeing Graham Hancock and Erick von Danniken listed as archaeologist, pseudo or otherwise. The former certainly has no qualifications in the business -even Indiana Jones has a doctorate!

I hope you don't mind me internationalising the CRM chapter a bit either.

Adamsan 00:00, Apr 18, 2004(UTC)

Of course we don't mind the internationalization. I'm the one who wrote most of the text in that section, and I know rather little about anything archaeological outside the U.S. --Smack 23:42, 18 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Thanks smack- I love the article- it really reads like an encyclopaedia entry on a subject like this should- I'm just going to add a few bios and fill in some of the blank links where I can Adamsan 22.05, Apr 19, 2004(UTC)

I will reinsert Graham Hancock and Erick von Danniken sentence (ala, "It is also promulgated by some high-profile authors and researchers, such as Graham Hancock searching for the Ark of the Covenant and Erich von Däniken (author of "Chariot of the Gods")."). I do, though, like the changes that Smack and Adamsan have done though for the most part. JDR

But these guys are not archeologists! Moreover, in their work there is no use of archeological method or theory! Thus, to include them in an article on archeology is positively misleading. Slrubenstein
I agree. It makes nonsense of the concept. Deb 17:59, 23 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Hancock and von Daniken are at best footnotes in the bumpy story of archaeology. To mention them at the beginning of a broad summary of the subject is misleading whether you point out the lack of support their ideas receive or not. I suppose the equivalent would be listing mermaids in the entry on Oceanography. Adamsan 22:50, 23 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Ok I propose the compromise in my most recent edit. This should satisfy those who inexplicably think Hancock and archaeology deserve to share the same IP address whilst salving my professional conscience as well. Adamsan 23:10, 23 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I find that your (Adamsan) insertion of a crack at pseudoarchaeologists is not a compromise. Pseudoarchaeology gets a somewhat thorough treatment in =Relations with the public=. Inserting a brief crack at von Daniken and Hancock before the issue can be addressed in full is POV. These authors' lack of scientific rigor does not necessarily invalidate their conclusions. A good number of discoveries in the exact sciences has been made by accident, or amateuristic dabbling, and the social sciences are even more susceptible to unorthodox methodology. Granted, pseudoarchaeologists are much less likely to come up with the right answers than scholars who take more scientific perspectives, but we cannot simply discount them at one fell swoop. --Smack 04:27, 4 May 2004 (UTC)

--Smack, I cannot agree for two reasons. First, the whole point of this sentence is to call attention to Von Danniken and Hancock, whose work is useless and exemplify pseudoscience; you cannot fault the passage for overgeneralizing when it is so specific. Second, you fail to distinguish between dilettantes and pseudoscientists. You are correct that amateurs (usually called diletants in the history of archeology) have made important contributions. But pseudoscience is another thing -- people who use the cloak of science to pursue theories that are on their face unscientific, using methods that are unscientific. This is not amateurism, it is misrepresentation. Amateurs are non-professionals who seek to contribute to a professional project. Pseudoscientists are nonprofessionals who falsely claim to be professionals in order to propose a competing non-professional project. Slrubenstein

I am certainly not against amateurs in modern archaeology Smack, and have added bits in the Relations with the Public chapter that I hope will lead interested people towards getting involved in the subject. Although you may consider my language as un-wiki like I would point out that Hancock and von Danniken's credibility is derided not just by archaeologists but by meterologists, science journalists, astronomers etc and not just the archaeological profession. The links I have added to Graham Hancock bear this out. Archaeology is a profession and demands professional standards from those that practise it. I like the parallel of alchemy; early investigators were able to contribute (knowingly or otherwise) to scientific knowledge but their ill-informed interpretation is no longer acceptable and is positively misleading to anyone looking to study chemistry today. In the same way, early antiquarians made a valuable contribution to archaeology but to leap to unsubstantiated conclusions such as attributing every stone circle to the Druids would get a modern scholar laughed out of town. Hancock is just such a methodological anachronism.I fully support the thoughts of Slrubenstein on the issue of the difference between the amateur and the pseudo practitioner Adamsan 16:30, 4 May 2004 (UTC)

Can you -- or anyone else -- write some discussion of William Duncan Strong, and V. Gordon Childe's, influence on archeology in the history section? I am not qualified but it is my sense that they are or were in their time very important. Perhaps more history of how modern scientific archeology came to be will help explain why pseudoarcheology is pseudoarcheology ... Slrubenstein

I could certainly do something on Childe- his contribution to theory ought to be acknowledged. Can't help with the other fella but will look into him. Adamsan 18:00, 4 May 2004 (UTC)
Having thought about it , I feel Childe's contribution site more comfortably in the theory section as he did a lot more writing than digging, Adamsan 19:15, 4 May 2004 (UTC)

Fair enough -- I think the main point still is to illustrate and explain what real (as opposed to pseudo) archeology is, in part by explaining how it came to be. I do hope someone knows enough about Strong's contribution to American anthropology -- I thought the prior to Binford he was one of the most important. Slrubenstein


The wiki keeps complaining about the article's excessive length. What would you folks say if I split off the History section into a separate article? I know, it's a difficult decision, but that section is the longest, and I think it's the most able to stand alone.

Also, I've been thinking about creating a List of archaeological terms to contain the large number of technical terms that don't merit articles of their own (i.e. 'cropmarks', 'provenience', 'matrix', 'stratigraphy', 'shovel test').--Smack 01:01, 5 May 2004 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. If you fancy it, you could even incorporate the theoretical growth of the subject as method and theory are so closely intertwined. I'd certainly like to contribute to an archaeological glossary too.
Does this comment regard the list of terms or the split? --Smack 03:30, 8 May 2004 (UTC)
Whoops sorry Smack didn't notice your comment earlier. I was thinking more about merging history and theory as I think it would be difficult to write about one without touching on the other. The argument at the top of this page about the intro wording illustrates how theory gets everywhere adamsan 09:49, 9 May 2004 (UTC)

I'm not altogether happy with Wetman's revision of the introduction though. It seems unecessarily verbose when as far as I can tell, archaeology is a separate discipline everywhere outside America and tying oneself into verbal knots for the sake of covering that one exception seems to me out of place in an introduction. The mention of palaeontology also seems a bit shaky to me as I was always taught that it was a branch of geology and that terms like environmental archaeology, archaeobotony and palaeoarchaeology were more correct for pre-homo sapiens studies. I don't want Wikipedia to contribute to the public confusion that already exists regarding cavemen hunting dinosaurs Adamsan 12:30, 5 May 2004 (UTC)

That's an odd reading. But say it better in fewer words, if brevity is the aim. It was poor before, with a strained US/British contrast. Wetman 11:30, 5 May 2004 (UTC)
I agree that the US/UK thing was inelegant and I certainly applaud the way you have rendered the whole thing in a more international vein. I'm wondering though if it would be better to simply define archaeology as the study of the material past and then thrash out the subsets and supersets of the discipline further down the page rather than bringing all these related terms into play so early on. Suggestions? Adamsan 13:20, 5 May 2004 (UTC)

Range of the field of Archaeology

What does Ötzi the Iceman have to do with paleontology? Also, why is he mentioned by name to the exclusion of all other mummies? --Smack 03:30, 8 May 2004 (UTC)

I too was curious about this. Eventually I rationalised it as a geological reference to the glacier that moved him about but it hardly seems like introduction material. Surely palaeontology is about fossils, not mummified Neolithic dudes. --adamsan 07:33, 8 May 2004 (UTC)
Ötzi the Iceman can't be linked if he's not named. Archaeology is an approach to lost culture, without a cutoff date: in England, archaeologists have uncovered the long-lost layouts of medieval villages abandoned after the Black Death and the equally lost layouts of 17th century parterre gardens. In downtown New York archaeologists have exhumed the 18th century remains of the Black burial ground. Wetman 15:18, 28 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Currently the introduction states that palaeontologists study past life, excluding humans, but then mentions palaeontology in connection with Ötzi, a modern human. I think Smack's first question was asking about this apparent contradiction and requesting clarification. Please could you explain further adamsan 18:21, 1 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I did some rewrite in order to clarify things. Incidentally, I removed the mention of the ice-man. Archeology indeed has no cutoff date (neither does physical anthropology; osteologists study contemporary human skeletons). In mentioning adjunct fields I tried simply to mention first other subfields of anthropology, and second other disciplines. Slrubenstein

Thanks Slrubenstein that's much more comprehensible. adamsan 19:45, 1 Jul 2004 (UTC)

The Hillfort or Hill fort or Hill-fort? discussion has been moved to Talk:Hill fort adamsan 20:57, 12 May 2004 (UTC)


why is archaeology in a different category than history on the mainpage?--BozMo|talk 15:13, 28 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Interesting point - looks like a whole theoretical can of worms to me. adamsan 18:31, 1 Jul 2004 (UTC)
To clarify, it looks like it's down to whether you see the subject as being closer to anthropology or history. Take a look at the discussion at the top of the page, the archaeological theory subsection and Processual archaeology for more info on the differing ideas on this subject. Perhaps Archaeological theory could be a candidate to be spun off as I note we're now up to 43KB on the main page. adamsan 19:45, 1 Jul 2004 (UTC)


Anachronistic wishful thinking? Documentation

" In 1803, there was widespread criticism of Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin for removing the "Elgin Marbles" from their rightful place on the Parthenon in Athens; " What some editor meant is that there should have been criticism. I'm reluctant to turn this particular stone... The development of this kind of criticism in the 20th century is part of the history of ideas and has had an effect on the practice of archaeology. Now that would be authentic. The more we know the less self-righteous we become, often... Wetman 19:51, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

You're mistaken. There was lots of criticism of Elgin at the time, as you'll find out when you read about him. Byron was one of the most vociferous, but even some of the locals were writing about it as Elgin was in the process of pulling them down. It surprised me too, but it's a well-attested fact. Deb 11:55, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)
In the Athens Gazette? Do you have any concept of what Athens looked like in 1803? What are you reading? Wetman 19:12, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I don't know any specifics, but didn't Greece achieve independence form the Ottomans in 1830? If so, it seems reasonable to suppose that there was a nationalist movement in Greece in the early 19th century. Wouldn't we expect Greek nationalists at that time to oppose a foreigner removing the marbles (either with Ottoman support, or without Ottoman opposition)? I am not claiming that this is what happened, I really odn't know. I am only claiming that it wouldn't be so surprising if it did happen. Slrubenstein

I never claimed that all the opposition came from Greeks. However, there are eye-witness accounts and documents, in English. I don't feel obliged to go back and check on all the sources, but here's Byron's take on it: ‘‘Dull is the eye that will not weep to see/ Thy walls defaced, thy mouldering shrines removed/ By British hands, which it had best behoved/ To guard those relics ne’er to be restored.’’
"The Honourable Lord has taken advantage of the most unjustifiable means and has committed the most flagrant pillages. It was, it seems, fatal that a representative of our country loot those objects that the Turks and other barbarians had considered sacred," said Sir John Newport, a contemporary MP.
Thomas Hughes, an eye witness, later wrote: "The abduction of small parts of the Parthenon, of a value relatively small but which previously contributed to the solidity of the building, left that glorious edifice exposed to premature ruin and degradation. The abduction dislodged from their original positions, wherefrom they precisely drew their interest and beauty, many pieces which are altogether unnecessary to the country that now owns them."
These sources are not difficult to track down. I begin to wonder what the motivation is for refusing to believe they exist. Deb 20:41, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Excellent! Thanks Deb. I've added your quotes to Elgin marbles. and a ? mark to my title above. My skepticism is axiomatic not peculiar: experience has taught me to doubt "well-attested" but unquoted historic facts when they gibe so very neatly with modern agendas. I'm glad to be shown wrong in this case. Wetman 21:40, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)