Rajna Sosic Klindzic

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Rajna Sosic Klindzic


Rajna Sosic Klindzic is associate professor at the Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb. Her research interests are prehistoric archaeology, archaeological theory, archaeology and politics, and archaeology in the digital world. Her current project is Modelling prehistoric settlement network in Slavonia (MOPRENS) funded by Croatian Science Foundation. As management committee member and representative of Croatia she participates in COST action ARKWORK. She teaches courses in prehistoric archaeology, history of archaeology and archaeological theory in undergraduate, master and PhD archaeology study program at the University of Zagreb.

Opening Conference

The tradition of tradition in Croatian Archaeology

In this presentation, several topics proposed by the organizers meet. I will address them from the perspective of institutional archaeology in the Republic of Croatia. For decades now, disciplinary problems have been recognized and addressed by numerous authors, since David Clarke described archaeology as undisciplined empirical discipline. As recognized, culture-historical paradigm is still dominant in the Southeastern Europe. Traditional culture-historical thinking is still present in Croatian archaeology, as an invisible paradigm, or the “sense” of using common-sense approach. Many factors led to this situation. First of them is individuality of archaeological work in Croatian institutions. From 19th century onwards, there was strong division on personnel working on certain time period. This division pertained, so our study programs and museum departments are still organized in prehistoric, antique and medieval sections. Archaeological interpretation relied heavy on the authorities and old periodizations were rarely challenged, rather filled in with new data. Concept of cultural circles is still very much alive and active participant in the archaeological debates. Real archaeologist is still often considered one with fieldwork experience, who can get his hands dirty, proper archaeologist, with developed “feeling” for detection of important finds and finding the truth. On a more global scale, archaeological cultures are still most dominant “units of measurement” in archaeological research and interpretation. From the very beginning the archaeological research is formed around the “culture” it investigates. To broaden the problem, some prehistoric borders in SE Europe are still perceived as they were the subject of Badinter Arbitration Commission in 1991. This is the results of national archaeologies and politics and policies of archaeology in each country. The common environment in which archaeological research is funded is often in the “sphere” of the national interests, and therefore formed accordingly. More and more joint projects and international collaborations begin to rattle this traditional environment, but the process is slow. The problem which is particular for the SE Europe more intensely than in the rest of the Europe is the concept of archaeological research not as team work, but as the right, responsibility and property of single esteemed scholar, which is often inherited. On the other hand, young scholars were guided to narrow specialization since the early stages of their career so they became expert for specific topics and have no time or interest subsequently to deal with theoretical and epistemological questions. That way the grand narratives of our prehistory remain as solid as when they were formed during the 19th century. Ever since, much has been developed in archaeology, but also new epistemological issues arose. The long tradition of culture-history archaeology, production of archaeological knowledge reserved for the single great mind, and keeping dominant positions and strong hierarchy in the frames of national archaeologies is possible explanations for the dominant production of archaeological knowledge in some parts of the SE Europe. As part of the national funding and building block of national identity archaeology is in the feedback loop with every political structure and has never left archaeology. Maybe it is time to try to guide this relationship in another direction.

Selected readings:

  • Šošić Klindžić, Rajna; Kalafatić, Hrvoje; Šiljeg, Bartul; Hršak, Tomislav. Circles and ceramics through the centuries: Characteristics of Neolithic Sopot culture settlements. // Prilozi Instituta za arheologiju u Zagrebu. 36 (2019) ; 41-84
  • Šošić Klindžić, Rajna. History of stone tool recycling // Recikliraj, ideje iz prošlosti / Miloglav, Ina ; Kudelić, Andreja ; Balen, Jacqueline, e
  • Šošić Klindžić R. 2015 Introduction to archaeological theory. Creators and movements during the 20th century. FF Press. Zagreb.

List of publications: http://bib.irb.hr/lista-radova?autor=262773&lang=EN