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English | Русский
Geography of Journal Authors

Stratum Plus. 2000. № 4

L. S. Klejn (St.-Petersburg, Russia)

Archaeology in Saddle (Kossinna in 70 Years Retrospective)




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Pages: 88-140


The article offers an analysis of Kossinna’s “archaeology of habitation”. It first reveals the attitudes towards Kossinna’s heritage, ignored by the modern historiography. Then it studies Kossinna’s biography and, in this context, development and crystallization of his concept. Most curiously, an observation is made that the racial theory was only introduced into Kossinna’s concept at a later stage in its existence. Then the article offers a systematisation of Kossinna’s views, which he, as a matter of fact, did not manage to do on his own. The thirteen positions of his “archaeology of habitation” (Siedlungsarchäologie) are set forth and analysed. Part of these dogmas are concerned with developing ethnic history, origins of peoples and language families (ethnic explanations of archaeological cultures, cultural continuity and typological correlations, migration treatment of a culture’s spread, ethnic attribution of a type and matching peoples and races). The other part is concerned with use of results of the study (address to “historical right”, selection of archaeological precedents of the modern plans of aggression and the doctrine of primacy). Still a number of other dogmas deal with driving forces in development of a society (declaration of the Germans’ mission as cultural carriers, principle of imposition of the past over the present, biological determinism and the principle of drawing ideals and direct lessons from archaeology). The last part of the article sets forth the arguments supported by Kossinna’s critics, and development of the criticism is followed – from his first critics (respectful German scholars of the early century) and Kossinna’s Polish adversaries to his West European opponents and Soviet Marxists, as well as West German sceptics. Evaluating Kossinna’s concept, the author maintains the opinion that despite his dilettantism and bias, Kossinna is a classic of the German archaeology. He founded the entirely new direction of ethno-genetic studies in the primitive archaeology, knitted a school together and introduced a series of methodological techniques which were accepted and applied in studies even by his enemies. And it is the fault of the social and historical situation and the spirit of the age in the Germany of the two world wars it initiated that the German archaeology had such a classic in the early XX century.



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