Julius Nestler and the “Nestler Collection” in the Náprstek Museum: Nationalism, Occultism and Entrepreneurship in the Making of Americanist Archaeology in Central Europe
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.