added by archaeologs (1843-1921). Swedish archaeologist who wrote many books and articles on European prehistory. He worked first on Scandinavian prehistory, dividing the Neolithic into four periods and the Bronze Age into five (divisions which are still retained by many northern prehistorians). He later applied this scheme, with some modifications, to other parts of Europe. His interpretation of European prehistory generally was based on the diffusionist view that derived all developments in Europe from the ancient civilizations of the Near and Middle East; this view, often described as ex oriente lux, is expounded with great clarity in Der Orient und Europa, published in 1899. The diffusionist view, combined with the technique of cross dating, allowed Montelius to construct a chronology for prehistoric Europe based on the historical chronologies of Egypt and the Near East. Gordon Childe took over and developed many of Montelius’s views and further developed his ‘archaeological’ chronology, which was accepted until the advent of radiocarbon dating and the tree-ring calibration (dendrochronology) demonstrated it to be wrong in many respects.
The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983