In Soviet Archaeology: Trends, Schools, and History the Russian archaeologist Leo Klejn examines the peculiar phenomenon which was Soviet archaeology, showing where it differs from Western archaeology and the archaeology of pre-revolutionary Russia, and where it reveals similarities. In this revised and expanded volume, he asks whether Soviet archaeology can be regarded as Marxist, and, if so, whether Marxism was to Russian archaeology a help or a hindrance at that time. Were the writings of Soviet archaeologists mere propaganda, driving their own political agenda, or can they be read as objective studies of our past? Klejn shows that Soviet archaeology was no monolithic bloc, though Soviet ideologists attempted to present it as such. Rather it was divided into competing schools and trends and, even beneath the veil of Marxist ideology, was often closely related to movements current in Western archaeology. Inside the system, however, the slightest deviation from the Party line was regarded as hostile, those guilty being often dismissed from their posts and condemned to life imprisonment in the Gulag, or even to death.
As an archaeologist working during the turbulent years of Soviet rule, Klejn presents an account which is at once scholarly and vivid. He traces the history of archaeology in Russia from 1917 to 1991 and through the years which followed, recounting the lives and fates of prominent Soviet archaeologists in graphic descriptions with accompanying illustrations.
Leo S. Klejn is Emeritus Professor at St Petersburg University, formerly Leningrad University. From 1960 until 1981 he taught archaeology at Leningrad University. In 1981 he was arrested on the initiative of KGB and sentenced to a minimal term imprisonment. After his release, his titles were removed and he was unable to find employment for ten years. During the reorganization of the Soviet government in the 1980s, Klejn's papers began to be printed again, and he was allowed to go abroad. He began lecturing as a visiting professor in West Berlin, Vienna, Copenhagen, Turku, Seattle, and Madrid. In 1994 he was invited to lecture at St Petersburg University as Professor of Cultural Anthropology. He retired in 1997 but continued to write and publish books. Since 2008 Klejn has been working as a columnist in the Russian newspaper for scholars Troitsky Variant. He has published over 460 works, including 15 monographs and 25 new translations and editions.
TRANSLATORS' NOTE; FROM THE AUTHOR; LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS; PART I: HISTORY AND THE PRESENT; PART II: FACETS OF A NEW SCIENCE; PART III: PERSONALITIES IN THE SYSTEM; CONCLUSION: RETROSPECTIVE AND PERSPECTIVE; BIBLIOGRAPHY; ANNEX; LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS; INDICES