chapter  3
Medieval archaeology and the tyranny of the historical record
Pages 17

The overtly political context of medieval and later archaeology may be less marked than in the time of Way, but the broader cultural context that has determined it is still strong. Medieval and postmedieval a!"chaeology in Europe have developed within those limitations, rather than as historical archaeology, a term that carries a much lighter load of ideological overtones. Restructuring the archaeology of the historic period in Europe as a discipline which seeks to understand the difference between Europe and other societies rather than to assume it and to ignore the non-European would create an exciting and relevant area of inquiry. Medieval archaeology should surely also pay good attention to that warning. The vision of the historic past has determined the academic separation of prehistoric from historic, and the subdivision of the historic into classical, medieval, and modern, divided by the fall of Rome and the Reformation.