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Markéta Křížová

Abstract

The text aims to present the broader context and biography of Julius Nestler, an amateur archaeologist from Prague, who at the beginning of the twentieth century pursued excavations in the ruins of Tiahuanaco/Tiwanaku and brought to Prague a unique collection of about 3,600 pieces, now deposited in the Náprstek Museum in Prague. A biographical study of Nestler has revealed his wide interests. During the period of Czech-German competition in Bohemia he promoted “German science”. He cooperated with entrepreneurial groups in Germany that were trying to penetrate Latin America economically, as a Freemason actively capitalised on a transnational community of associates; and at the same time was an adherent to and propagator of occultism. All these facets of his personality shaped his activities in the recently-established field of Americanist archaeology.

Open access

Markéta Křížová

Abstract

The present article represents a partial outcome of a larger project that focuses on the history of the beginnings of anthropology as an organized science at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries, in the broader socio-political context of Central Europe. Attention is focused especially on the nationalist and social competitions that had an important impact upon intellectual developments, but in turn were influenced by the activities of scholars and their public activities. The case study of Vojtěch (Alberto) Frič, traveler and amateur anthropologist, who in the first two decades of the twentieth century presented to European scientific circles and the general public in the Czech Lands his magnanimous vision of the comparative study of religions, serves as a starting point for considerations concerning the general debates on the purpose, methods, and ethical dimensions of ethnology as these were resonating in Central European academia of the period under study.

Open access

Markéta Křížová

Abstract

The basis for the present article is the case study of Julius Nestler, amateur archaeologist from Prague, who at the beginning of the twentieth century pursued excavations in the ruins of Tiahuanaco and brought to Prague a unique collection of about 3,600 pieces, deposited now in the Náprstek Museum in Prague. His activities are put into the broader context of the origins of Americanist archaeology and anthropology in Central Europe, against a background of nationalist competition and economic entrepreneurship. The life story of Nestler also brings to the fore the problem of ethics in anthropological and archaeological work.