Show Summary Details

p. 72. The history of prehistorylocked

  • Chris Gosden


‘The history of prehistory’ explains how the idea of prehistory arose gradually between the 16th and early 19th centuries in Europe and America, growing large and influential through debates about evolution in the mid-19th century. National and personal identities were problematical, but deeper issues of identity surfaced through 19th-century debates that have never gone away. At the beginning of the 20th century, an alternative set of views emphasized the local specificity and integrity of human cultures. Today, our questions have shifted away from why some people did not ascend to the top rung of the ladder of progress and towards how people created worlds for themselves that made internal sense.

Access to the complete content on Very Short Introductions online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.