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The article’s aim is to clear the ground for the idea of aesthetic archaeology as an aesthetic analysis of remote artifacts divorced from aesthetic criticism. On the example of controversies surrounding the early Cycladic figures, it discusses an anxiety motivating the rejection of aesthetic inquiry in archaeology, namely, the anxiety about the heuristic reliability of one’s aesthetic instincts vis-à-vis remote artifacts. It introduces the claim that establishing an aesthetic mandate of a remote artifact should in the first place be part of a quest after the norms of engagement an artifact’s kind signaled to the intended audience by its appearance. Rather than advocating for a new subdiscipline, the concept of aesthetic archaeology serves to bring into theoretical focus an aesthetic engagement with an artifact’s appearance under circumstances that rule out any acquired competence in distinguishing its aesthetic mandate perceptually—and thus rule out any aesthetic expertise.