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The Great Eolith Debate and the Anthropological Institute

Muthana, Angela, Ellen, Roy (2020) The Great Eolith Debate and the Anthropological Institute. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology, 30 (1). pp. 1-11. ISSN 1062-4740. E-ISSN 2047-6930. (doi:10.5334/bha-623) (KAR id:81158)

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Abstract

From the 1880s onwards, the Anthropological Institute played a key role in arguments surrounding eoliths, both as a venue for significant events and through the pages of its journals. Eoliths, stone objects claimed to be man-made and regarded by ‘eolithophiles’ as the precursors of handaxes, had become an issue almost as soon as the first chipped flints had been accepted as artifacts in the mid-nineteenth century. The ensuing debate, that drew in many luminaries of the age – such as Edward Tylor, John Evans, Alfred Russel Wallace and Joseph Prestwich – in many ways exemplified the changing relationship between amateurs and professionals in the affairs of the Institute, and between the different branches of evolutionist anthropology, addressing questions of scientific method, the use of ethnographic analogies, and contributing to the splits between the branches, and the eventual supremacy of the professionals by the eve of the Second World War.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.5334/bha-623
Uncontrolled keywords: eoliths, Royal Anthropological Institute, history of archaeology, history of anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Social and Cultural Anthropology
Depositing User: Roy Ellen
Date Deposited: 09 May 2020 13:06 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2020 09:19 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/81158 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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