Felix Wiedemann

Waves of peoples and bringers of culture

Origin and migration narratives in historical-archaeological interpretations of the Near East around 1900

Published: 2010-03-24 | DOI: 10.54799/HAOA5416


Questions as to the origins of different historical peoples and their movements through time and space have always played a vital role in archaeology. Especially late 19th and early 20th centuries archaeologists tried to identify the routes of migration of certain peoples in order to establish ethno-historical cartographies of entire regions. Regardless the historical context to be dealt with, these accounts oft en share some remarkable similarities in representing and narrating migrations. Using the example of German ancient Near Eastern archaeology at the turn of the 20th century the article examines central migration narratives against the background of their political and cultural contexts. The two most important questions of the archaeological debate on migrations in the ancient Near East were the supposed origin and migrations of the ›Semitic peoples‹ and the ethno-historical cartography of ancient Asia Minor. The archaeological accounts show repetitive role patterns which can be identified in different historiographical contexts of the time. Furthermore, striking parallels between the archaeological discourse on migrations in the ancient Near East and theories about the supposed origins of the Jews clearly demonstrate the importance of the contemporary debate on the rising anti-Semitism in this context.

How to Cite

Wiedemann, Felix. 2010. “Waves of Peoples and Bringers of Culture: Origin and Migration Narratives in Historical-Archaeological Interpretations of the Near East Around 1900”. EAZ – Ethnographisch-Archaeologische Zeitschrift 51 (1/2):105-28. https://doi.org/10.54799/HAOA5416.
EAZ Cover Issue 1/2/2010, 51. Volume
EAZ Cover Issue 1/2/2010, 51. Volume
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