Soviet Archaeology Trends, Schools, and History

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-02-07
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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InSoviet Archaeology: Trends, Schools, and History, Russian archaeologist Leo S. Klejn looks at the peculiar phenomenon that is Soviet archaeology and its differences and similarities to Western archaeology and the archaeology of pre-revolutionary Russia. In this updated and expanded volume, he considers whether Soviet archaeology can be considered as Marxist and, if so, was Marxism a help or hindrance to Russian archaeology at the time. Were the writings of Soviet archaeologists sheer propaganda with their own political agenda or can they be considered as objective sources about our past? Klejn shows that Soviet archaeology was not a monolithic block as Soviet ideologists attempted to represent it, but rather it was divided into competing schools and trends and, even under the veil of Marxist ideology, was often closely related to the movements occurring in western archaeology. However, inside the system, even the slightest deviance from the party line was considered hostile, and the guilty person was often discharged and punished with sentencing to a life in the Gulag prisons, or even death. As an archaeologist working during the turmoil of the Soviet government's rule over Russia, Klejn's scholarly account is laid out in a journalistic manner, tracing the history of archaeology in Russian from 1917 to beyond 1991, as well as recounting the lives and fates of leading Soviet archaeologists in vivid descriptions with accompanying photographs.

Author Biography

Leo S. Klejn is Emeritus Professor at St Petersburg University, formerly Leningrad University. From 1960 until 1981 he taught archaeology at Leningrad University. In 1981 he was arrested on the initiative of KGB and sentenced to a minimal term imprisonment. After his release, his titles were removed and he was unable to find employment for ten years. During the reorganization of the Soviet government in the 1980s, Klejn's papers began to be printed again, and he was allowed to go abroad. He began lecturing as a visiting professor in West Berlin, Vienna, Copenhagen, Turku, Seattle, and Madrid. In 1994 he was invited to lecture at St Petersburg University as Professor of Cultural Anthropology. He retired in 1997 but continued to write and publish books. Since 2008 Klejn has been working as a columnist in the Russian newspaper for scholars Troitsky Variant. He has published over 460 works, including 15 monographs and 25 new translations and editions.

Table of Contents

Translators' note
From the author
List of Illustrations
Part I: History and the Present
1. The 'Great Unknown'
2. The Stages of a Long Journey
3. Generations and Aspirations
4. A Spectrum of Trends
5. The Arena of Debate
Part II: Facets of a new science
6. Under the Sign of History
7. The archaeology of a Great Power: the complications of composition
8. Archaeology under the red flag
9. Childe and Soviet archaeology
10. Reading between Lines
Part III: Personalities in the system
11. Unbridled intellect and revolution: N. Ya. Marr
12. The red demon of archaeology: the saga of V. I. Ravdonikas
13. A Historian Armed with a Spade: A. V. Artsikhovsky
14. Prince of Soviet Archaeology: B. A. Rybakov
15. The masters and their roles.
Conclusion: Retrospective and Perspective.
A. A. Formozov: On L. S. Klejn s book The Phenomenon of Soviet Archaeology and on the phenomenon itself.
L. S. Klejn: More on Soviet archaeology and Marxism: A professor s reply to a professor s son
List of abbreviations

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