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An obtainable and authoritative evaluate taking pictures the power and variety of scholarship that exists at the transformative period of time referred to as overdue antiquity.

•Provides a necessary review of present scholarship on past due antiquity -- from among the accession of Diocletian in advert 284 and the tip of Roman rule within the Mediterranean

•Comprises 39 essays from many of the world's most advantageous students of the period

•Presents this once-neglected interval as an age of robust transformation that formed the trendy international

•Emphasizes the principal value of faith and its reference to monetary, social, and political life

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Extra info for A Companion to Late Antiquity (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World)

Example text

8 per cent in terms of its length), is the domain solely of archaeologists. 2 per cent of human history (and with far less for most parts of the world) and excludes the origins of the human species, agriculture, permanent settlements and urbanism. Even within the last five millennia only archaeologists have the competence to deal comprehensively with the history of any culture for which there is no documentary evidence. Once, however, the first texts give a partial insight into a culture, the term ‘historian’ is claimed by those who attempt a historical interpretation of these documents.

If we do not present the whole mosaic, if we split it up into individual tesserae, we may ourselves forget the sense of our work, and we will not be able to convey it to anybody else. The emancipation of archaeology? While some archaeologists (and many historians) are content with archaeology playing the role of the proverbial ‘handmaiden of history’, others strive towards equality. Austin (1990: 10) laments that school textbooks ‘are based almost solely on documentary evidence, although they may incidentally include pictures of material things such as castles or coins’.

Carver 2002). Yet it appears that he almost comes to the opposite conclusions when criticizing demands that archaeology should recover ancient texts, be it in Mesopotamia, the Mediterranean, China, Vindolanda in Roman Britain or on Maya sites in central America: Subservience to the demands of history is even more evident in those cases where the practice of archaeology is explicitly directed at the recovery of ancient written material. Here archaeology ceases to be a discipline in its own right and serves merely as a producer of texts to be consumed by historians and philologists.

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