Augustus Lane Fox and the Anthropological Institute

Image: Lane Fox, A.H. 1875. On a series of about two hundred Flint and Chert arrowheads, Flakes, Thumbflints, and Borers, from the Rio Negro, Patagonia; with some remarks on the stability of forms observable in stone implements. Journal of Anthropological Institute 4: 311-320.

As part of a two-day conference at the Royal Anthropological Institute on 8 and 9 December 2015, exploring the history of the Institute between 1871 and 1918, Dan Hicks will be giving a paper about Augustus Lane Fox (later Pitt-Rivers) and the idea of the archaeology of the present during the 1870s. The abstract is below. More details on the RAI website

Augustus Lane Fox, the Anthropological Institute, and the Archaeology of the Present, 1869-1882
As Clive Gamble and Theodora Moutsiou (2008) have demonstrated, the year 1859 began a ‘time revolution’ in archaeology — emerging through the simultaneous recording of Acheulian handaxes among the Somme gravels and the publication of Darwin’s On The Origin Of Species. These developments are usually understood as part of a more gradual, long-term process of the study of the archaeological past. This paper explores an alternative dimension of this episode in the pre-disciplinary history of archaeology through a close reading of the published works of Augustus Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers in the Journal of the Ethnological Society of London and the Journal of the Anthropological Institutebetween 1869 and 1882. The paper draws a distinction between standard accounts of the archaeological work of Pitt-Rivers (1880-1900) on the one hand, and the potential for exploring the lesser known published work of Augustus Lane Fox, as he was known before he inherited the Pitt-Rivers fortune (in the 1850s, 1860s and 1870s) on the other. Working through his accounts in the two journals of stone tools, megalithic monuments, museum classification, modes of navigation, archaeological excavations in Norfolk and Sussex, anthropometrics, and the state’s role in heritage protection, the paper re-evaluates Lane Fox’s approach to museums, landscapes and material culture, explores his conception of archaeology’s relationships with time and anthropology, and his understanding of archaeology not as a form of history or prehistory, but as a science for understanding the present.

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