James Whitley

in The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199286140
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History


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  • Classical Studies
  • Greek and Roman Archaeology
  • Ancient Greek History


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This article emphasizes that no ancient artefact can speak to people in isolation; rather, one has to consider the ‘patterns’ of occurrence, and the dialogue they establish with other forms of evidence, such as textual evidence. The artefacts people have are partly determined by the decisions of archaeologists, and so is the knowledge of the context in which they were discovered. Archaeology is a particular form of historical enquiry. However, what the word ‘archaeology’ actually entails in the field of Hellenic studies is far from clear. There are three areas of ambiguity: the range of material objects that archaeology examines; the question of whether ‘classical archaeology’ is a distinct sub-discipline, an archaeology apart; and the question of the spatial and temporal scope of archaeology within the field of ‘Hellenic studies’.

Keywords: ancient artifact; archaeologists; historical enquiry; material remains; classical archaeology; Hellenic studies

Article.  5144 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Archaeology ; Ancient Greek History

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