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Art and the Archaeologist

By Sarah Scott


In studying ancient ‘art’ it is important to remember that we are placing objects into a category that has more to do with the development of modern art history than the contexts in which they were created and viewed. While aesthetic and stylistic comparisons often serve as the building blocks for the chronological frameworks that underpin our understanding of these societies today, it is important to remember that we are able to compare objects in ways that would clearly have been impossible in the past. As archaeologists it is crucial that we reflect on the notion of value and understand the aesthetic frameworks within which we work. In reflecting on the history of approaches to ancient art we can demonstrate the limitations and dangers of interpretative frameworks in which aesthetic value is prioritized above all else. This paper will focus on the study and display of Roman provincial art in Britain, but will raise issues of much wider relevance

Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1080/00438240600963213
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