A VIEW OF VINČA FROM CAMBRIDGE: MINNS’ REVIEWS OF THE 1930s PUBLICATIONS BY VASIĆ

DUŠAN BORIĆ

Abstract


The article provides close readings of a series of book reviews of Vasić’s Vinča publications in the journal MAN of the Royal Anthropological Institute in Britain written in the 1930s by Russian and Eastern European studies expert and Cambridge-based archaeologist Sir Ellis Hovell Minns, including his unpublished notes and annotations of the volumes that are kept in the Cambridge University Library. In three installments, first in 1933 and then twice in 1937, Minns reviewed Miloje Vasić’s seminal four volumes of Preistoriska Vinča I-IV, which were published in 1932 and 1936. In these reviews Minns gives his own interpretation of the dating and significance of the site of Vinča-Belo Brdo near Belgrade, but also echoes the majority opinion of leading experts about the finds at the time. The reviews, which have not previously been discussed in literature, provide penetrating glimpses for the history of archaeological thought, especially in Serbia, and reveal important aspects of the international reception of Vasić’s works and his erroneous dating of the site. The purpose of this piece is to contribute to a critical evaluation of foundational figures in Serbian archaeology and can be seen as an extension of a conversation started by Palavestra and Babić in several previously published articles. The article ends by asking to what extent these early omissions in Serbian archaeology set the tone for structuring tropes and persistent traditions that have endured in this regional archaeological school ever since.


Keywords


Miloje M. Vasić, Vinča, Neolithic, Ellis Hovell Minns, history of archaeology, archaeological theory

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.19090/i.2016.27.7-32

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