Conclusion the Social and Cultural Contexts of Collecting

Neil Brodie, Morag M. Kersel and Kathryn Walker Tubb

in Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, and the Antiquities Trade

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780813029726
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039145 | DOI:
Conclusion the Social and Cultural Contexts of Collecting

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  • Archaeological Methodology and Techniques


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This chapter discusses how, starting in the fifteenth century but particularly since the late nineteenth century, artists have imagined the aesthetic qualities of different categories of archaeological material. In analyzing the motivations and justifications of antiquities collectors, it also points to the almost fetishistic power of the antiquity to transform personal and social values. In addition, some outline proposals for future research are given. It specifically turns to the why question in order to investigate some of the complex issues that are critical for understanding and resolving the problem. The analysis focuses, in particular, on the ways in which collectors use archaeological heritage as symbolic capital to gain social status and prestige. The antiquities trade is a very human phenomenon and offers ample scope for the playing out of rivalries and conceits, for displays of power and largesse, for the pursuit and realization of overarching ambition, for broaching (or creating) social barriers, or simply for earning a living.

Keywords: collecting; antiquities collectors; antiquity; archaeological heritage; antiquities trade

Chapter.  7737 words. 

Subjects: Archaeological Methodology and Techniques

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