In the early twentieth century, psychoanalysis tries to investigate a specific logic of the appearance and the incident of what is taken to be unintended in everyday communication and human behavior. What before hardly seemed to be worth systematic research, now becomes a privileged field, in which the meaningful signs of a hidden and unwelcome past appear. For representing this new field of research Freud often makes use of archaeological metaphors. But in quoting the knowledge and the techniques of archaeology, he evokes imaginary landscapes of a reappearing human past, which is not depraved and repressed but glorious and precious. This contradiction or gap between the character of analytical objects and their representation gives reason for an ‘archaeological’ investigation of psychoanalysis itself. To this end one of the heroes of nineteenth century archaeology, Heinrich Schliemann, will be confronted with two little works of Rudolf Virchow, in which he follows up the astonishing idea of an archaeology of refuse. Relating treasure troves and rubbish dumps it can be asked whether ‘archaeological’ practices in the late nineteenth century constituted a type of historical knowledge which runs counter to contemporary historicism and is crucial not only for Freud but also for today's theoretical reflections on archaeological perspectives in cultural studies.

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