Archaeology, Museums, and the German-Danish Borderlands
Excavating Nations traces the history of archaeology and museums in the contested German-Danish borderlands from the emergence of antiquarianism in the early nineteenth-century to German-Danish reconciliation after the Second World War. J. Laurence Hare reveals how the border regions of Schleswig-Holstein and Sønderjylland were critical both to the emergence of professional prehistoric archaeology and to conceptions of German and Scandinavian origins.
In 1683, two empires - the Ottoman, based in Constantinople, and the Habsburg dynasty in Vienna - came face to face in the culmination of a 250-year power struggle: the Great Siege of Vienna. Within the city walls the choice of resistance over surrender to the largest army ever assembled by the Turks created an all-or-nothing scenario: every…
At the center of this process, Hare argues, was a cohort of amateur antiquarians and archaeologists who collaborated across the border to investigate the ancient past but were also complicit in its appropriation for nationalist ends. Excavating Nations follows the development of this cross-border network over four generations, through the unification of Germany and two world wars. Using correspondence and site reports from museum, university, and state archives across Germany and Denmark, Hare shows how these scholars negotiated their simultaneous involvement in nation-building projects and in a transnational academic community.
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