Ancient and Modern
Archaeology was a comparatively new discipline in the early years of the 20th century and, like the antiquarianism from which it derived, it had thitherto been exclusively the domain of gentlemen amateurs and their skivs. O G S Crawford (1886-1957) belonged to the same generation as Mortimer “Rik” Wheeler and Gordon Childe and was thus among Britain’s earliest professional archaeologists. He founded and edited the quarterly journal Antiquity. A tireless recorder, he was a sort of one-man Mass Observation movement.
Kitty Hauser is driven by curiosity rather than idolatry. Through the tetchy figure of Crawford, she broadly illumines archaeology’s progress throughout the first half of the 20th century. Rather, the progress of field archaeology; its triumph over antiquarianism; its paradoxical affinities, through Antiquity, with architectural and sculptural modernism and English surrealism; its oddball patrons such as the marmalade tycoon Alexander Keiller, whose reconstruction of Avebury was described by Stuart Piggott as “megalithic landscape gardening”; its popularity in the first telly age when the primly bow-tied Glyn Daniel and the raffish Mortimer Wheeler became nationally known.