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Document Details :
Title: The Long-term Archaeology and History of Archaic and Classical Greece
Subtitle: Unfulfilled Promise?
Author(s): OSBORNE, Robin
Volume: 20 Issue: 1 Date: 2014
Thirty years ago there seemed to be real hope that historians and archaeologists working on Classical Greece might begin to talk to each other in order to construct a long-term history of Greece focused on economic and social history. ‘New’ archaeology was replacing description with argument and object-fetishism with attention to assemblage and context. Historians were abandoning their exclusive concentration on political history, turning to the economic and the social and realising that where things happened might be important for understanding what happened. By the middle of the 1990s much seemed to have been achieved. The countryside had become a major focus of archaeological activity and a significant number of historians were taking feeding the people, and everything that that involves, to be the basic issue that demanded understanding. Historians were also beginning to acknowledge that textual snippets might be far less useful than archaeological data for our understanding of the world beyond Herodotos and Thucydides. But two decades on, no such Whiggish history can be told. Greek historians have returned to burying their heads in texts, most Greek archaeologists have largely returned to descriptive questions and issues of methodology. Both archaeologists and historians have returned to writing for others of their own ilk. This paper offers both an archaeology of the history of the long-term history of Classical Greece and a history of the archaeology of the longterm history of Greece, describing and attempting to explain the course of events.