Scientific Beginnings

in Facts on the Ground

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780226001944
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226002156 | DOI:
Scientific Beginnings

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The London-based Palestine Exploration Fund's late nineteenth-century survey of the country of Western Palestine sustained processes of discipline building and territorial refashioning, and it was on the basis of the fund's early work of historical-geographic recovery that the subsequent work of Jewish archaeology would build. In analyzing the fund's early work, this chapter traces the methodological and epistemological foundations of archaeological research in Palestine, while charting the demarcation of the “artifact” as a discrete scientific object and legal category that would make possible archaeology's exclusive domain of expertise. An analysis of this work also uncovers an important moment in the history of colonization, when cartography facilitated colonization on pragmatic and ideological grounds alike. Cartography presents Palestine as a concrete, coherent, and visibly historic place, a sustained object of scientific inquiry, charted and recognizable on modern maps and increasingly explored through the ongoing excavation of ancient artifacts.

Keywords: Western Palestine; Jewish archaeology; artifact; colonization; excavation; scientific inquiry

Chapter.  9862 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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