The Beginnings of Archaeology and Art History in the Antiquarian Research of the Renaissance

This is an ongoing project.

Faculty Researcher: Brian Madigan

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Brian Madigan


This project is an exploration of how disciplines which study the material remains of past cultures had their start in the antiquarian pursuits of the Renaissance (15th-17th centuries). Antiquarians are the first to attempt to write history using objects as sources of information. However, the development of the methods by which this could be done are largely unexplored. This project exploits the possibilities of digital humanities to study the successes and failures of these antiquarians in their efforts to understand ancient Greek and Roman culture by examining the material remains: buildings, statues, coins, gems, etc. Increasingly, the published works of these antiquarians in world libraries are being made available through digitized texts, which allow the historian to explore how their interests developed and how they interacted with others with similar historical interests.


curiosity about the past and how we come to understand it.


Compiling and examining digitized texts published by antiquarians from the 15th through 18th centuries. Drawing from these how individuals or groups went about finding and interpreting objects surviving from ancient Greece and Rome.

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Last Updated

January 18, 2017