Reading the excellent entry Francisco Javier tostado on his blog, titled “Perry Fawcett, the real Indiana Jones”, has inspired us to recover an ancient reflection on the origins of archaeology and its relationship with the museums. Although like all personal reflection is debatable, but what is certain is that history has given us the character of William Petty (17TH century), a kind of womanizer, Protestant pastor and mercenary, who dedicated his life to travel, to the relentless pursuit of beauty in form of Hellenic marbles buried, as well as ancient specimens of all kinds and conditions. He did his work primarily by Levante: Greece, Turkey, Crete, so that Once found and unearthed, take them by boat to his Lord, a noble of the English Court he collected them with real obsession. The English lord, now we don’t remember its name, with the invaluable help of maese Petty, enabled whole rooms of his Castle Palace to accommodate all plundered by the mercenary work to show her delight and envy of his buddies. His wife collected provides, not repairing expenses or bad arts so Petty take them home, where privately looked huge walls. There was a moment that there was no room inside the castle for as much sculpture, so the garden also became exhibition space. They were Petty and his? Lord the first scholars of material remains of the now defunct human life? Was that the origin of the first Museum of archaeology?
Alexandra Lapierre’s book portrays the life of William Petty, first known “archaeologist” of history. There is doubt that was a real character
The discovery of the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in the 18th century, led to begin a huge interest for Mediterranean cultures and a career in search of archaeological remains. Even Napoleon started a military expedition between 1798 and 1800, motivated by this nascent interest in the ancient culture and which meant the discovery of important archeological niches, which include the Rosetta Stone. Between 1822 and 1890, Heinrich Schliemann discovered the remains of the city of Troy. The race was already unstoppable until archaeology became certified as a science in the mid-19th century. It was the result of the combination of interests individual scientists, among which are recognition of the great antiquity of man, the demonstration of the theory of evolution and, in addition, the system of the three ages proposed by Thomsen. The latter published in 1848 a guide from the National Museum in Copenhagen, where he explained the criteria followed in the management of the antique collections already transformed place of sample collections to Danish National Museum itself, classifying them generically in: stone age, bronze age and iron age. This classification was followed by the majority of European museums.
The National Museum of Copenhagen is considered first Archaeological Museum in the world by ordering its collections in three stages of the history of man (1848). There is who ensures that the first was the British Museum (1759), the difference is perhaps in the scientific order of the first and the second disorder
Before the end of the 19th century are to begin the first methodological excavations, as Pitt-Rivers, in which you attempted to retrieve the complete archaeological record and not only the valuable objects which made. Starting from is time, developed what is known as stage of the large classification or typological method, which provides the basis for developing the different chronological sequences in order to seek answers to the large and fundamental questions about the time of recovered objects. Concern for the type is present in the exhibitions of the museums virtually until the mid 21st century so far.The importance of the British Museum has had and has the great expeditions of archaeological studies is unquestionable. Respect we feel toward the institution as such, today do not mention the word looting
Any artifact created by man, that has been an instrument for daily use, centered around research and knowledge of archaeology. When these objects enter a Museum, in the majority of cases – big mistake in the majority of cases, including enormous prestige museums – all intended is his exhibition for contemplation. However, we must also say that archaeological research is evolving to make way for an educational vision which is very important for understanding, by all kinds of public, because the objects begin to acquire context thanks to a new applied museography. Because ultimately, archaeology is fun; archaeologists and didactic curators know it well.
Main image for social networks: California’s Cultural Heritage