Oscar Montelius

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Oscar Montelius, oil painting by Emerik Stenberg ( ca.1913 )

Gustaf Oscar Augustin Montelius (born September 9, 1843 in Stockholm ; † November 4, 1921 there ) was a Swedish prehistorian and head of the Swedish Riksantikvarieämbetet (Reichsantiquaramt) from 1907 to 1913.

Life and scientific work

Born in Stockholm in 1843, Montelius studied at Uppsala University , where he received his doctorate in 1869 . He dealt mainly with the Scandinavian Bronze Age and was one of the first researchers to systematically deal with the dating of prehistoric finds. He developed a method that also uses the geography of the sites and the morphology of the finds. He coined the definition of a closed find for the context of a find that was simultaneously recorded and undisturbed. In addition, he published the typological method in 1903 under the title The Method , which with the seriation represents the basis for the relative chronology in archeology.

Oscar Montelius died in early November 1921 at the age of 78 in his native Stockholm.


In 1877 Montelius was accepted as a member of the Kungliga Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Academies , where he had previously worked as an amanuensis . In 1895 he became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and in 1917 a member of the Svenska Academies (Chair 18). In 1909 he became an honorary member of the Berlin Society for Anthropology, Ethnology and Prehistory . In 1921 he was elected a foreign member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences . In 1913, the medalist Erik Lindberg made a silver plaque on the occasion of his 70th birthday (63 × 48 mm, front: half-length portrait to the left. Back: young woman in an antique robe with a blazing torch in front of the entrance of a megalithic grave). In 1943 two Swedish special postage stamps based on a painting by Emerik Stenberg (Michel No. 302–303) were issued in his honor.

The footpath Monteliusvägen in Stockholm was named in his honor .

Works (selection)

  • The older cultural periods in the Orient and in Europe. Asher, Stockholm 1903.
  • Cultural history of Sweden. From the oldest times to the 11th century AD . Seemann, Leipzig 1906.
  • La civilization primitive en Italie depuis l'introduction des metaux . Stockholm 1895-1910.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Hans Jürgen Eggers: Introduction to Prehistory , Munich 1959 (new edition 1986, p. 91 ff)
  2. Holger Krahnke: The members of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen 1751-2001 (= Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Philological-Historical Class. Volume 3, Vol. 246 = Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Mathematical-Physical Class. Episode 3, vol. 50). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2001, ISBN 3-525-82516-1 , p. 172.