Frontier gentlemen’s club
Felix Kanitz and Balkan archaeology
in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology

This chapter examines one network, webbed around Austrian autodidact Felix Kanitz (1829–1904) at the beginning of the institutional phase of Serbian archaeology. Throughout the greatest part of its history, archaeology in Serbia was practised within the wider field of, theoretically conservative, Yugoslav archaeology. Hence, Kanitz's iconic status in Serbian archaeology is shown through the fact that even today, more than 150 years after he published his first book on Roman heritage in Serbia, his works are the starting point of almost every archaeological project in the country. His advisers on Serbian topics and those who accompanied him in Serbia were almost all tightly connected to an imperialistic practice. Put differently, Kanitz created a kind of gentlemen's club, consisting of people who shared the same language, but also the same cultural values – Central European cultural values in particular. Both intermediary and intermediated, Kanitz, who was not trained as an archaeologist but was deeply tucked into the fold of Habsburg ‘frontier colonialism’, created an elaborate Europe-wide network that produced and, following that, transmitted knowledge on the Roman archaeology of Serbia.

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