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by Archaeology Newsroom

The historiography of classical antiquity

The great excavations on the sites of Heraclea and Pompei (1738) and the scientific mission to Egypt (1798) mark the beginning of the archaeology of our times. In the 18th century, together with the fashion of travelling to the Orient came the architects who mapped, painted and drew antiquities. Georges Clemenceau, the statesman and Hellenist took a lively interest in the French excavations at Delos and Delphi. The founding of the foreign Schools of archaeology in Athens and the great excavations make evident the conflicts that occured between the foreign policy and archaeology of the time. The Swiss archaeologist Waldemar Deonna remained in obscurity because he never conformed with the stereotypes of someone in charge of an excavation. Landscape was promoted to a cultural heritage and this caused archaeologists to conform with the science of “Human Geography”. The question arises what are the factors that would allow for those in charge of antiquities to condone the destruction of those very same antiquities?