Kalaureia 1894 A Cultural History of the First Swedish Excavation in Greece

University dissertation from Stockholm : Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University

Abstract: The excavation of the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Kalaureia in 1894 marks the beginning of Swedish archaeological fieldwork in Greece. During a couple of hot summer months, two philologists from Uppsala University, Sam Wide (1861-1918) and Lennart Kjellberg (1857-1936), worked in the sanctuary together with the architect Sven Kristenson (1858-1937), the Greek foreman Pankalos and around twenty local workmen. In 1997, the Swedish Institute at Athens began new excavations at the sanctuary.This thesis examines the beginnings of Swedish fieldwork in Greece. Within the framework of a cultural history of archaeology, inspired by archaeological ethnography and the New Cultural History, it explores how archaeology functioned as a cultural practice in the late nineteenth century. A micro-historical methodology makes use of a wide array of different source material connected to the excavation of 1894, its prelude and aftermath.The thesis takes the theoretical position that the premises for archaeological knowledge production are outcomes of contemporary power structures and cultural politics. Through an analysis of how the archaeologists constructed their self-images through a set of idealized stereotypes of bourgeois masculinity, academic politics of belonging is highlighted. The politics of belonging existed also on a national level, where the Swedish archaeologists entered into a competition with other foreign actors to claim heritage sites in Greece. The idealization of classical Greece as a birthplace of Western values, in combination with contemporary colonial and racist cultural frameworks in Europe, created particular gazes through which the modern country was appropriated and judged. These factors all shaped the practices through which archaeological knowledge was created at Kalaureia.Some excavations tend to have extensive afterlives through the production of histories of archaeology. Therefore, this thesis also explores the representations of the 1894 excavation in the historiography of Swedish classical archaeology. It highlights the strategies by which the excavation at Kalaureia has served to legitimize further Swedish engagements in Greek archaeology, and explores the way in which historiography shapes our professional identities.