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by Archaeology Newsroom

W. Déonna and the Science of Archaeology

The history of archaeology is in vogue today, and this rising interest is expressed in many ways: Biographies, monographs, narration, analyses etc, not to mention congresses, seminars and round tables focusing on this subject, that make it more and more successful. This new archaeological tendency affects classical archaeology as well. The return to the past is usually the opportunity for a critical examination of the works of our predecessors, as regards the choice of a reconstruction or the prejudices of a representation, which seem to the modern expert as being out-of-date. However, the history of archaeology in itself does not elude criticism. On the one hand, it is fascinating to observe its development, when theoretical archaeology, so alive between the years 1960 and 1980, is shaky and cannot easily escape anymore from the limited circle of initiates. On the other hand, it shapes a concept of archaeology that can be questioned, since it concerns the history of a profession and its characteristics, such as the exploration and investigation of a site from the first travelers who visited the area to the first scholars who excavated it. In this way, all archaeologists who are not excavators or to whom excavations are not their primary concern are excluded. Thus, authentic archaeologists remain in the shadow, their only fault being that they defended an archaeology which is not our concern or whose work, although exceptionally interesting, seems today inappropriate for exploitation Waldemar Déonna is one of them.