Montelius, Oscar

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Swedish archaeologist who constructed a chronology for prehistoric Europe and who developed typological schemes for the European Neolithic and Bronze Age. He divided European prehistory into numbered periods (four for the Neolithic, five for the Bronze Age) and to these periods he gave absolute dates by extending cross-dating from Egypt across Europe. Montelius believed in the diffusionist view (called ex oriente lux) that all European culture in later prehistoric times was derived from the ancient civilizations of Egypt and the Near East. Still controversial is his theory, the Swedish typology suggesting that material culture and biological life develop through essentially the same kind of evolutionary process. He published "Om tidsbestämming inom ronsåldern" (1885; "On Determining the Periods Within the Bronze Age") "The Civilization of Sweden in Heathen Times" (1888) and "Die älteren Kulturperioden in Orient und in Europa" (1903-23; "The Older Cultural Periods in the Orient and Europe").