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Leslie Alcock
#1
Here is a necrology of Leslie Alcock, an archaeologist specialised in Late Roman and Early Medieval Britain.
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
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#2
Quote:the excavation of a Bronze Age site at Mojendo-Daro in the Indus valley
Some journalists don't even bother to use Google to verify difficult names... :evil:

Reading Leslie Alcock's book 'Arthur's Britain' started me off into Dark Ages studies.. Of course it's yet another book by an archaeologist dabbling at history, but still very readable, which I guess is why it's still in print.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#3
I liked the book too and can sincerely recommend it: here is the Amazon link and here is a link to a lot of Arthurian literature.
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
My website
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#4
Quote:and here is a link to a lot of Arthurian literature.

Big Grin
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#5
Errrr ... what's wrong with archaeologists dabbling in history, Robert :twisted: To try to give a full picture of a site/subject, archaeologists need to look at written evidence too. Perhaps that's what made him a great archaeologist - he tried to look at the whole very complex 'Arthurian' picture. Perhaps that's why he's considered worthy of being mentioned here.

Should historians only look at history and archaeologists only look at archaeology?
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#6
Quote:Errrr ... what's wrong with archaeologists dabbling in history, Robert :twisted:

Nothing, except for the fact that he took a very non-critical appraoch trying to make a case for his archaeological theories, that's not the way to use the sources. As if no methodology is neccesary! But historians tend to do the same when they use archaeological reports for their purpose.. :?

And then that attempt to re-name the Historia Brittonum and certain related MSS as "the British Historical Miscellany"... Well, the name did not stick. Alcock later recanted much of his theories on South Cadbury and Tintagel.

So no, it is not wrong for archaeologosts to be dabbling in history (or vice versa), as long as you respect the rules of that field.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#7
I think the important thing is that he had a go at integrating the information. Also, it's very often the rule-breakers who bring about the changes in their (and other) fields, if only by stimulating debate. Bravo to those who stick their neck out.
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#8
Quote:I think the important thing is that he had a go at integrating the information. Also, it's very often the rule-breakers who bring about the changes in their (and other) fields, if only by stimulating debate. Bravo to those who stick their neck out.

Sure, he stuck his neck out, although it must be said that in reflection, most comments about that don't seem to agree what his motives were.
Also, at the time this was not so much seen as rule-breaking. The Arthurian sources were generally used without a strick critical approach. Which is why I'm not too critical of Alcock's book - I like it indeed for the integral approach.
But it was nonetheless that same book, and John Morris' 'Age of Arthur' (1975) that lead to a backlash from the historical minimalists (David Dumville and Molly Miller to name two of them) who subsequently ruled out any value for these sources. While reading every word of Gildas twice, nay three times, and adoring Bede's works, these scholars for decades forbade any use of the Historia Brittonum or the Annales Cambriae, which they considered valueless and often fraudulent.

That backlash also hit Leslie Alcock, who had to recant many previously claimed 'Arthurian' connections to several of his digs.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#9
Quote:I think the important thing is that he had a go at integrating the information.
Isn't this the same as saying that modern scholarship has become too fragmented? Everybody will agree with you, but no one will challenge the structure of scholarship.

I am personally deeply disappointed that it is, even today, possible to become a professor of ancient history in, say, Oxford or Cambridge, without any experience on an excavation; and I am perhaps even more disappointed with the archaeologists here in Holland, who know how to dig but do not know how to read.
Quote:Also, it's very often the rule-breakers who bring about the changes in their (and other) fields, if only by stimulating debate.
Of course you are right, but it also means that you will be criticized from both sides. How many scholars can live up to that stress?

In my opinion, the study of the past is, intellectually and morally, dead. Everybody knows that scholarship's divisions have become an obstacle; nobody has the guts to act. I can add diatribes about bureaucracy, about laziness, and hypocrisy. (I know a case of fraud which I wanted to mention to the Ethical Committee of a university, but I was not allowed to because I was not employed by that university - in other words, the university protects itself.)

I am convinced that renewal can not start at the universities. However, perhaps new media will bring about a new Renaissance; maybe, the internet will do for scholarship what printing did for that other Renaissance.
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
My website
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#10
I think we should be remembering his passing at this moment....not making comments about his rights or wrongs in the Arthurian field of study and research.... :wink:
He at least gave us something that as Robert pointed out, kindled interest in Arthur and the Dark Ages....
regards
Arthes
Cristina
The Hoplite Association
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The enemy is less likely to get wind of an advance of cavalry, if the orders for march were passed from mouth to mouth rather than announced by voice of herald, or public notice. Xenophon
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#11
Arthes said:
Quote:I think we should be remembering his passing at this moment....not making comments about his rights or wrongs in the Arthurian field of study and research.... Wink
He at least gave us something that as Robert pointed out, kindled interest in Arthur and the Dark Ages....

I wasn't criticising Alcock at all, and pointed out his contribution to the study of the era was useful, right or wrong:

Viventius said an earlier email:

Quote:I think the important thing is that he had a go at integrating the information
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#12
Quote:I wasn't criticising Alcock at all,
I think no one was criticising Alcock, but we have indeed been digressing a bit. Maybe this is good: our scholar will smile in Heaven when he notices that his contributions inspire some debate.
Quote:He gave us something that as Robert pointed out, kindled interest in Arthur and the Dark Ages
I think we can all agree on that.
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
My website
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#13
Quote:I think we can all agree on that.
Absolutely.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#14
This is from the BBC:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0, ... 77,00.html
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
Reply
#15
Thanks!
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
My website
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