Accepted Paper:

"Get your facts first...": tangible aspects of ideology in Hungarian archaeology  


László Bartosiewicz (Loránd Eötvös University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper briefly outlines the relationships between intellectual tradition, statutory regulations, and financing in Hungarian archaeology between 1945 and 1990.The co-existence of political/legal/economic developments and ideological trends in the archaeological literature are reviewed.

Paper long abstract:

Three aspects of any historical situation shape trends in archaeology: 1) intellectual tradition, 2) statutory regulations, and 3) financing. These vectors are mutually interconnected and their relations being governed by general economic and ideological conditions, sometimes in the form of political pressure. This was the case under "communism", a catch all term used in describing the years between 1945 and 1990 in Eastern Europe. The origin of these vectors, however, not only varied from country to country, but also underwent perpetual change during this less than two generations time interval. Following radical centralization, responsibilities shifted between institutions. While financing was stable due to an ideological emphasis on culture and planned state investment, ideas of heritage management developed slowly. Beyond phraseology, there is relatively little reflection of in-depth ideological influence in the archaeological literature, especially after 1956. While dramatic political pressures are known to have been exerted to play out (often personal) animosities, their evidence often remains anecdotal and its effect can be appraised rather in the governing bodies of archaeology than in the professional literature. Officially advocated dialectical materialism challenged but did not fundamentally contradict the strong tradition of historicism in Hungarian archaeology; this discipline has in general been slow to absorb external influences as is shown by the protracted acceptance of interdisciplinary studies in a different, non-political dimension.

Panel S22
Archaeology under communism: political dimensions of archaeology