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date: 19 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article argues that scholarship that is concerned with the discovery, creation, and interpretation of Aegean prehistory has, throughout its history, been intimately associated with the allocation and categorization of time. Chronology has become framework and constraint, friend and problem. How one chooses to see the framework entirely creates prehistory. The early nineteenth-century ad concept of the Three Age system developed from Christian Thomsen's reorganization of the National Museum of Denmark and its ideas of evolutionary progression became the standard in most European prehistory. A quest to create some sort of structure and to bring order to a couple of millennia of calendar time has, over the course of the later nineteenth through the early twenty-first centuries ad thus come to create an incredibly rich, dense, ad hoc, and arcane system for describing and demarcating the time frame of the Aegean Bronze Age.

Keywords: scholarship, chronology, prehistory, Three Age system, Christian Thomsen, Aegean, Bronze Age

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