The practice of collecting prehistoric artifacts has had a long history in Europe, and the collectors and antiquaries of the 16th-19th centuries are regarded today by many as the precursors of the discipline of prehistoric archaeology, in the circum-Aegean lands such a practice and the associated discourses appear to have emerged much more recently, but they certainly antedate Schliemann’s discoveries of the 1870s, and they can be followed back to the early 19th century. In this article I try to reconstruct something of the texture and ethos of that practice and discourses, as they emerge from the writings of archaeologists of the period. It is evident that collecting and the associated discourses had their rules and norms, strategies and tactics, distinctly different from those that would prevail later on in the discipline of Aegean prehistory.