Politics of periodization and the archaeology of early Greece
Antonis Kotsonas American Journal of Archaeology 120.2 (April 2016): 239-270
Periodization is a fundamental exercise for archaeology and for historical studies in general, aimed primarily at clarity in communication. However, this exercise imposes particular modes of conceptualizing specific periods. An attractive case study for research in the historiographical processes that shape periodization is posed by the period of Greek archaeology extending from the end of the second to the early first millennium B.C.E. This study analyzes the different conceptual baggage of each of the many names used for this period and focuses on the terminological struggle between the Dark Age(s) and the (Early) Iron Age. Ι argue that this struggle was shaped not only by discussions within classics but also by debates in other historical disciplines and developments in the political history of 20th-century Greece. The struggle over the name of the period has served as an arena for the unfolding of broader politicized debates in classics, Greek history, and the archaeology of the Mediterranean.