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Themes and Models in the Development of Italian Prehistory

Issue: Vol 15 No. 2 (2002) December 2002

Journal: Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology

Subject Areas: Ancient History Archaeology

DOI: 10.1558/jmea.v15i2.199


Italian prehistory, its theory and methodology, developed during the 19th-century unification of Italy. Initially embracing the natural sciences, it became wedded to a culture-historical paradigm, strengthened by the philosopher Croce. In addition, the strong central figure of Luigi Pigorini, the first prehistorian of the modern world, molded a conservative, homogenous view of the development of Italian prehistory, which rejected evolution. After Pigorini's death, and the fall of Fascism, other viewpoints such as Marxism revitalized the discipline. The strong left-wing Marxist perspective, however, along with a previous tradition of scientific methodology, meant that Italian mainstream prehistorians did not accept the processual paradigm. Currently, the post-processualist critique is enjoying greater success, mainly because of the influence of French Structuralists, and because of the strong culture-historical paradigm which most modern Italian prehistorians follow.

Author: Helen L. Loney

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