added by archaeologs
Term used to refer to the study of the ancient world before archaeology emerged as a discipline. Antiquarianism first appeared in the 15th century as a historical branch of Renaissance humanism. Perhaps the earliest writer to be specifically described as an ‘antiquario’ was the Italian epigrapher Felice Feliciano (1433–80), but there were many other European scholars in the early 15th century who were studying ‘antiquities’ (although the word ‘antiquity’ was not used in its modern sense until Andrea Fulvio’s Antiquitates urbis of 1527).
Most of the early antiquaries were more historians than proto-archaeologists or prehistorians, although the archetypal antiquary was increasingly distinguished from the historian by his supposed obsession with ancient objects, particularly in the form of the so-called ‘cabinet of curiosities’ (typically consisting of coins, medals and flint arrowheads); these were often disparaged by contemporaries in comparison with collections of sculpture or paintings. The overriding link between the antiquary and the early archaeologist was therefore the concern with physical antiquities as opposed to ancient texts. The key difference is that antiquaries tended to be interested in antiquities alone rather than their archaeological and cultural contexts.
The best-known of the 17th-century antiquaries was John Aubrey (1626–97), whose studies of Stonehenge and Avebury, published in his Monumenta Britannica (c.1675), led him to identify them as the temples of the druids (see Hunter 1975). However, the scholar who probably brought the world of antiquarianism closest to the brink of early archaeology was William Stukeley (1687–1785), whose theodolite surveys and perspective drawings of STONEHENGE and AVEBURY, as well as his recognition of prehistoric field systems, lead Piggott to describe him as a ‘field archaeologist’.
T.D. Kendrick: British Antiquity (London, 1950); M. Hunter: John Aubrey and the realm of learning (London, 1975); S. Piggott: William Stukeley (London, 1985); J.M. Levine: Humanism and history (Cornell, 1987); S. Piggott: Ancient Britons and the antiquarian imagination: ideas from the Renaissance to the Regency (London, 1989); B.G. Trigger: A history of archaeological thought (Cambridge, 1989), 27–72.