As will come as no surprise to my students, many of whom have been subjected to my fascination with archaeology, should I have it do all over again, I might have eschewed historical studies for a life sifting dirt.

History versus prehistory provided the fascinating reading for today, specifically Creating prehistory: Druids, ley hunters and archaeologists in pre-war Britain. I’m still beavering away on my prior paper, but wanted to delve more into what had been written about history versus prehistory. What initially may appear a simple academic division, historians get the peeps who left written records, the archaeologists get everyone else, is more complicated that it would seem.

In the late Victorian era, during the transformations of higher education in England, historians struggled to establish themselves as a rigorous discipline. This move necessitated excluding the gentleman scholars who preceded them as rank amateurs, or “antiquarians” and delineating a professional method for historical research, which rested largely on “cohesion of a single methodology and set of standards,” a just the facts sort of approach to the past, as opposed to an “enthusiasm for minutiae and artefacts,” which supposedly characterized both antiquarians and archaeologists.

p.s. word for the day “clerisy” A distinct class of learned or literary people. See even professors still expand their vocabs. Please use at least once today and report back via comments ☺

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