In Memoria: Problematic Fields of Cultural Archaeology in the Context of Leo Klein’s Observations




anthropology, historical culturology, cultural history, cultural archaeology, prehistory, applied field, interdisciplinary research, Leo Klein


Up to nowadays, archaeology is considered to be a “history assistant”, tied to the linked aim and subject field, and the ancientries themselves are mostly just catalogued and typologized. It was obvious to Professor Leo Klein that ancient culture should be studied not by archaeology, requiring a fundamentally different methodology. Unfortunately, in November 2019, this outstanding researcher stopped his creative path, leaving behind many wise observations. This essay in memory of Lev Samuilovich substantiates his methodological observations around archaeology, history and culture.
While traditional history is based on written evidences and is interested in individual events, the archaeologist analyzes the exact circumstances under which and how these events occurred. In particular, the comparison of archaeology with criminology is accurate. Similarly, historical culturology deals with “clues”: it analyzes cultural fragments, layered in time and space echoes of the former everyday life, disassembling which, tries to carry out a certain reconstruction – not of the material component, but rather of information. For cultural (pre-)history, culture appears as a materialized (“objected”) form of the mass consciousness embodiment.
Leo Klein certainly accepted the fundamental role of the theory of culture and just distinguished it from the very concept of “culturology”, which as of the mid-nineties he considered as an artificial fiction. However, in the twenty years later texts we do not find such statements. In a broader context, the researcher dreamed of a disciplines ensemble capable of shedding light on various aspects of the past through a natural experience exchange. The ideal embodiment of which the professor considered to be a single institutional department: the Faculty of Anthropology, where the Archaeology Department would be adjacent to the Departments of Anthropology, Ethnography, Cultural Studies, Museum Studies, Primitive and Ancient Art, Theoretical Linguistics, Historical Geography, etc.

Manuscript received 10.09.2020

Author Biography

Denys Korol, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

PhD (Culture), Associate Professor of the Department of Cultural Studies of the Faculty of Humanities of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (NaUKMA). Main research fields: civilization processes; ancient mental models; traditional death and afterlife beliefs; archaic art; Scandinavian studies


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