Antiquarians between Nature and Culture

  • Vladimir V. Mihajlović Institute for Balkan Studies SASA, Belgrade
antiquarians, scientific revolution, theory, archaeology, natural sciences, dichotomy artifact/ecofact


From the second half of the 16th century to the beginning of the 18th century, the foundations of modern science were laid through the wide-ranging changes in comprehension of both nature and European societies, today labeled as “scientific revolution”. By the end of this period in the history of European science, the interpretation of universe did not necessarily include the divine intervention and, along with the objectification of nature, the past was objectified as well. The approaches articulated during the scientific revolution were applied to the investigation into the human past in the works of the antiquarians. The new ways of observation, description, and collection of antiquities were generated as a part of the wider interests in natural history. On the other hand, it may be argued that the antiquarians’ practice joined together the approaches we would today judge as opposed: the ones derived from social theory , as well as the ones based upon natural sciences. In their studies of the past, the antiquarians equally used written sources as well as “naturalistic” methods, such as careful observation, establishment of classifications, or experimental design. Taking into account the significant contribution of antiquarians to the establishment of disciplinary foundations of archaeology, the paper aims to point to some new possibilities of approaching the study of the past, primarily beyond the established dichotomy of artifacts/ecofacts, and to offer the ways of bridging the present divisions inside the discipline.


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How to Cite
Mihajlović, Vladimir. 2017. “Antiquarians Between Nature and Culture”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 12 (3), 767–783.

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