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p. 72. The history of prehistorylocked

  • Chris Gosden

Abstract

‘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.

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